Thursday, March 7, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Trailblazing Triumph Mountain Bike Trails Spearhead Economic Growth

In a groundbreaking moment for adventure enthusiasts and tourism alike, Finch Hatton's Stage 1 Mountain Bike trails have officially opened, drawing scores of mountain bikers to experience the thrilling twists and turns of these newly unveiled pathways.

With the inaugural trails now accessible, the stage is set for a monumental transformation in the tourism landscape of the Pioneer Valley. This milestone isn't just about launching trails; it's about igniting a tourism revolution that promises to redefine the region's allure and economic potential.

The project of ambitious proportions is poised not just to redefine recreation but to catalyse economic revitalisation on a scale unseen before in the Mackay Region.

One of its most passionate advocates, Cr Justin Englert says the vision is resoundingly clear – to position the valley as a global hub for mountain biking enthusiasts paving the way for national and international investment. With meticulous master planning underway to bolster regional tourism through this venture, the trails stand as a linchpin for increased visitation, business expansion, and community development.

Seeking re-election as a councillor in the local elections on March 16, Cr Englert successfully lobbied for the investigation, business case and funding for the Finch Hatton/Eungella mountain bike facility which he says will increase visitation to the valley by a minimum of 30,000 people per annum, kick-starting an economic prosperity not seen in Finch Hatton and Eungella since gold was discovered in the 1800s.

“This will be the anchor tenant for a rebirth of tourism industries from accommodation, food, farm stay, fishing, tours and more for the entire region,” he added.

Caption: Councillor Justin Englert, a passionate advocate for economic growth through tourism development, leads the charge at the Finch Hatton Mountain Bike trails, paving the way for Mackay's tourism resurgence

Championing Tourism

Justin Englert's Vision For Mackay

The Finch Hatton Mountain Bike trails aren't merely about creating a recreational facility for the community; they're about carving a new future for the region – one where tourism flourishes, businesses thrive, and communities prosper.

As the Mackay Regional Council embarks on the monumental task of constructing more than 80 kilometers of single-direction mountain bike trails across the Pioneer Valley, Finch Hatton, and Eungella, Cr Englert emphasises, "We are on the precipice of a tourism boom, and if re-elected, I will fight for the completion of this project to make the Pioneer Valley THE premium destination for mountain biking in the world."

Planning and investigation works for Stage 2 are underway and will continue until 2025 with construction forecasted to commence in 2026, however funding is not yet locked in for this project and the newly elected council will determine the future of development.

"This is the economic driver for the Pioneer Valley becoming one of the most desirable rainforest destinations in the world to attract global attention and help the businesses here thrive," he said.

“There has been interest shown from a range of tourism investors, including consideration for a gondola to transport visitors up to the top of the Eungella Range.”

Cr Englert's commitment to tourism development isn't confined solely to the mountain bike trails. As a councillor, he has been a tireless advocate for initiatives aimed at elevating Mackay's tourism profile and fostering economic prosperity across the region. From lobbying for consistent funding for Mackay Isaac Tourism to throwing his support behind Pioneer River activation projects, Justin has been at the forefront of driving initiatives that promote tourism, business growth, and community well-being.

He was chairperson for Mackay Isaac Tourism during the amalgamation of Mackay Tourism and Isaac Tourism and is sitting or has sat as chair of the Mountain Bike Alliance, Visual Arts Advisory Committee and Economic Recovery Subgroup. He is or has been a member of the Character and Heritage Advisory Committee, Invest Mackay Event and Conference Attraction Program Advisory Committee and the Local Disaster Recovery Group, strengthening his understanding of the economic needs of the region.

Cr Englert's dedication to public service extends far beyond his advocacy for tourism and economic development. A man of multifaceted talents and unwavering commitment, his professional journey spans military service, small business ownership, and extensive involvement in community organisations. From his tenure as a professional State Emergency Services Local Controller and spending more than 20 years volunteering in the SES, he has consistently demonstrated a steadfast commitment to serving his community.

As he seeks re-election for a third term, Cr Englert’s platform is anchored on completing ongoing projects, ensuring affordable living for residents, fostering community growth, and advancing the development of the Pioneer River.

Authorised by Justin Englert, 8 Marlborough Street, Ooralea


SES: Justin Englert was the Mackay region’s first professional State Emergency Services Local Controller responding to the region’s emergencies and natural disasters

Plane: Justin (left) joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as an avionics mechanic at the age of 19. He was posted to 501 Wing Amberly and commenced work on the F111 C fighter jet aircraft. Photos supplied

Bike: As a councillor, Justin lobbied for the investigation, business case and funding for the Finch Hatton mountain bike trails

In other news