RIDING HIGH: Chairway to Mount Remarkable

HOT on the heels of the announcement of a mountain bike loop as part of a $10 million Remarkable Southern Flinders Ranges project, a proposal for a chairlift to the top of Mount Remarkable has been mooted.

Gladstone resident, Gordon Begg, who grew up ‘on the side of Mount Remarkable’, said the chairlift project had always been in the back of his mind after climbing it many times as a kid.

“Now the 12.2km return trip around the mountain, and the climb up, are generally undertaken only by younger, fitter people,” Gordon said.

“It would be a huge tourist drawcard to have a chairlift here, making the 961m high mountain accessible for everyone.”

Currently there are two 4WD tracks available to drive to the top through the National Park, but you need permission to do so.

“Chairlifts can hook bikes to the front so when riders ride down the mountain, they could jump on the chairlift with their bike and go back up again,” Mr Begg said.

This would work in well with the recently announced international standard mountain bike trail in the national park.

A former builder and project manager for capital projects ($50,000 to $5m), Mr Begg said the multi-million dollar project would be a win-win for both locals and tourists alike.

“Not only would it bring tourists to the area but be very successful not only for Melrose but for the wider Flinders Ranges and Pirie areas, plus if contracts for the work are won by locals it will create more jobs,” he said.

“The steepest part is at the Melrose end, with the shorter distance up of 1.6km being on the eastern side, but there are various options in regards to where a chairlift would start, and whether to go high above the trees or lower.”

“If money was no object, the chairlift could run from the Brewery Street end and run behind the mount and not be visible.”

Mr Begg has also proposed a CFS watch tower be built on the mountain top, which would greatly assist CFS volunteers and residents alike during fire season.

“There is so much potential here – there could be a restaurant, accommodation, amenities viewing platforms, helipad – there is scope for major works here, but of course, without scarring the mountain,” he said.

Mr Begg has been in contact with Doppelmayr Australia, that has been operating in the Australian ropeway industry for more than 60 years, and has been advised initial chairlift costing is around $10m per km.

Couple that with all the other infrastructure required, along with other buildings desired, the price tag is massive.

Mr Begg is canvassing support from politicians, tourism groups and the state and federal governments for grant or loan funding.

“While there is no real need for this project, it would be hugely successful for the region and the state, and really put us on the map,” he said.

(Check out Mr Begg’s video which will be on the Plains Producer facebook page later this week.)