Anzac Day goal for Falls Creek road buried by landslide
A Victorian mountain resort has received a glimmer of hope with a date to reopen its arterial road, but local businesses say they still need help to survive.
Falls Creek has been isolated from its main tourist road and sister community of Mount Beauty since floods caused a landslide in October.
Major Road Projects Victoria, which has been removing debris from the site since, has set an Anzac Day target to reopen a single lane at the landslip site, program director Dipal Sorathia told a community meeting in Mount Beauty on Monday.
"Still we are very much subject to weather because as we get closer to winter, we're going to get more and more rain and ... we have snow at Falls already," Mr Sorathia said.
Major Road Projects Victoria could not confirm when both lanes would be accessible, but said it was working hard on mid-term and long-term solutions with minimal disruption to the upcoming snow season.
Falls Creek Alpine Resort chief operating officer Stuart Smythe was delighted the 2023 winter season would be going ahead as usual.
"It has been a really frustrating summer, with a huge event calendar having to be cancelled and many businesses and stakeholders again losing income through no fault of their own," he said.
"So we are really excited that the Bogong High Plains road will be open well in time for winter 2023."
Falls Creek Chamber of Commerce president Lisa Logan welcomed some certainty on the road's reopening, but noted mountain businesses were still doing it tough.
"It's great news and we understand the complexity of the landscape and how difficult it's been for them," Ms Logan said.
"In the meantime, we're still in a situation where we don't have regular access, we still don't get the opportunity to generate an income and we still have very inadequate support."
In February the Victorian government offered $2.9 million in service charge relief to Falls Creek businesses after the resort was forced to cancel its summer events.
Ms Logan said the support was welcome, but businesses were still faced with utilities, loan repayments and other overheads while unable to make income.
"I don't think the government actually appreciated how inadequate that was," she said.
A government spokesman said it would continue to work with Alpine Resorts Victoria and local businesses.
"This is the biggest landslip Victoria has seen in 40 years and this is a massive job - our crews are working seven days a week on both sides of the landslip to manage these recovery works," he said.
Ms Logan said businesses would need help negotiating with lenders.
"There would have been a few banks hanging on for the message yesterday to decide ... whether or not they can back (businesses) for another six months," she said.
"That's where we need a lot more help with negotiating with lenders to make sure that they understand that the mountain will still open, particularly for winter."