Mount Baw Baw resort handed over to private operator

The Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort board has appointed Belgravia Leisure to manage the troubled resort for the next 12 months.
The Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort board has appointed Belgravia Leisure to manage the troubled resort for the next 12 months.  Photo: Craig Abraham

Management of the troubled Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort has been transferred from the government to a private operator after another year of losses and millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies. 

The ski resort's board has appointed Belgravia Leisure to manage the resort for the next 12 months. Belgravia also manages Lake Mountain. 

It will stop the waste of money and all the head honchos going up there and partying.

Poor snowfalls and early closure of the lifts contributed to a plunge in the Mount Baw Baw resort's revenue in 2013. 

Resort chief executive Stuard Ord (left) at a meeting with stakeholders in 2013.
Resort chief executive Stuard Ord (left) at a meeting with stakeholders in 2013. Photo: Luis Enrique

Even with a state government contribution $4,539,215 last year, the resort recorded a $408,783 loss. 

Visitor numbers fell by more than 20,000 last ski season, to 33,000 – the lowest attendance since 2006. 

Mount Baw Baw is Melbourne’s closest downhill ski resort, located about 2.5 hours east of the CBD, and has seven surface lifts (three T-bars, two platters and one poma, plus a “magic carpet”).  

In 2012 the Victorian Auditor-General raised concerns about the financial viability of the resorts at Mount Baw Baw and Lake Mountain. 

Belgravia operations manager Anthony McIntosh said reducing the resort’s reliance on government funding would be a key goal. 

Mr McIntosh said while it was too early to say what measures would be introduced to increase revenue and reduce costs, greater activity on the mountain outside of the ski season would be encouraged.

Mr McIntosh said he wanted visitors to Mount Baw Baw to have a ‘‘a vibrant, fun, great experience – and feel loved’’.  

‘‘We will be making improvements to visitor services, to accommodation, and to snow management which will enhance and expand the visitor experience,’’ he said. 

The resort was expected to operate for a full ski-season this year, he said. 

One stakeholder on the mountain said they were extremely happy about the new management arrangement. 

‘‘Over the moon, absolutely fantastic,’’ they said. 

‘‘It will stop the waste of money and all the head honchos going up there and partying,’’ they said. 

They called for a big investment in new snow-making equipment for the resort.

Environment Minister Ryan Smith, said ‘‘supporting private management will help to secure the future of this important Victorian asset’’.

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