We’ve been tinkering in the garage to develop the following collection of 12 concepts to turn our area into a high-performance dynamo. We not only hope they may get you to the front of the grid with your next business idea or community benefit campaign, but that you’ll then supercharge them and tune them ‘til they’re a thriving company or initiative.
- Our discussions with the Sale skate community on their engagement with the Wellington Shire regarding the design and implementation of the Port of Sale skate park were refreshingly positive. Can all our local governments have constructive conversations with our youth regarding their transport options? ‘Cause, trust us, there’s not much that’s more frustrating than being under 18-years-old in regional Australia and having very few avenues to get anywhere!
- While we’re at it, let’s continue the productive community engagement and include dialogue with our area’s disadvantaged people to ensure everyone in our region has access to mobility opportunities that work for all our needs.
- Let’s hasten the delivery of Melbourne’s proposed third airport in Koo Wee Rup. The establishment of rail links from the existing West Gippsland line and the re-establishment of the South Gippsland line to the future airport would considerably reduce the travel time to embark on interstate – and possibly international – voyages.
- Current wisdom is that Melbournians escaping the city for the weekend prefer to drive to their Gippsland retreat. Will this continue as the status quo? Could improved public transport options, the facilitation of more bike spaces on trains to regional areas, a Gippsland-based car sharing system or an entirely new transport business model provide the flexibility and reach these travellers require? Surely, this becomes increasingly relevant as the number of city-based car owners continue to decline.
- Gippsland already has several State and some National-level events for sports such downhill mountain biking, horse racing, road cycling and motorsport. But, is it feasible to improve the facilities at these venues to attract international competitions? This will attract more affluent travellers to our region, and allow us to showcase Gippsland to the world.
- A faster rail link from Gippsland to the centre of Melbourne isn’t very innovative considering it has been repeatedly proposed since the 1980s, but its actual implementation would be novel (and, as you’ve read earlier in this edition, much needed).
- Researchers have been exploring nature’s optimisation methods and techniques to develop more efficient transport systems. The foraging pattern of ants, the behaviour of bees and the growth path of slime mold have all revealed potential improvements for mobility networks. Maybe we need to stop cleaning the shower to devise new bus routes for the Latrobe Valley?
- Ride-sharing smartphone applications are growing in prevalence throughout the world, but we’d love to see a Gippsland-centric app that’s developed in partnership with local governments to create safe locations in rural areas where people could park their cars, then ride share into the nearest town or transport hub for commuting. The app could simply allow the users to indicate when they’ll be arriving and departing from the meet-up point so that others can meet there and share the vehicle too.
- One of our wise interviewees (Dr Elena Kelareva) suggested that currently unused space in our railway stations could continue to become art galleries, similar to Yarragon and Traralgon. Thus will entice people to travel down the Gippsland line to view each exhibition. Or, could artists reinvigorate the facades of the under- or unused buildings that remain on the sites of our railway stations? Turning a whole wall or even the entire building into an art piece – similar to the very cool Silo Trail from Patchewollock to Rupanyup in Victoria’s Wimmera-Mallee region. (The opening of the new art trail and the rail line upgrades could coincide. What an impressive photo opportunity for the politicians who pushed the project through. *Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge).
- It’d be cool to see a book or website which outlined a series of engaging, diverse, themed and picturesque tourist loops of our beautiful region. It could begin with a half day, full day or weekend driving trips that guide you through the many varied vistas of Gippsland. This could progress to include cycling and walking trails, many of which can utilise our unused railway lines. Then imagine if you had a guide for a loop which suggested a route that allowed you to drive, then hike, catch an old steam train and kayak all in the same weekend; and recommended dining and accommodation options – it’d be awesome. We could have a trail that links the regions Aboriginal heritage, a detailed historical route or multiple different wine and culinary adventures. Then, we can solidly promote these loops to the world.
- The many guests climb onboard the train in Walhalla, Puffing Billy, a paddle steamer on the Murray River, visit the Heyfield Vintage Machinery Rally or attend a vintage car or motorbike show demonstrates that there’s continued interest in nostalgic travel experiences. In naturally picturesque areas, developing high quality – even luxury – travel using the transport of yesteryear could prove to be very sought-after.
- It must be our accumulating years, but we’re a tad sceptical that a government is going to shell out the $8 billion required to deliver Stage Two and Three of the rail upgrades required for a lovely swift train journey to Melbourne in the near future. So let’s push for the whole enchilada right now – let’s get two or three stations in Gippsland for the HyperLoop that will run from Melbourne to Sydney. Sure, a line would cost between $11.5 and $121 million per mile (for example, there are about 100 miles between Melbourne and Traralgon), but imagine travelling to the city in 10 minutes! Plus, we have the VicHyper team, led by RMIT students, nutting out a possible design solution right now – so let’s take advantage of their ideas.