Three Development Applications have been lodged as part of plans for a new Selwyn Snow Resort, with a modern aesthetic and sewerage system, which could see treated wastewater used to make snow and fight fires.
The DAs received generally positive feedback from both the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Rural Fire Service.
The former resort burnt during the 2019/20 Dunns Road fire. It had been built in sections over the past 55 years, starting with a single tow rope and evolving as demand for skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing increased. The resort is known to cater to young families, providing an affordable and gentle snow play experience.
Typically, the resort hires up to 90 shift workers during the winter and caters to 2000 guests.
The plans submitted to the NSW Department of Planning show a low, modern visitor’s centre anchoring the new resort, branching out into two wings, covered in charcoal grey colorbond and dark cedar cladding. A large clock sits at the centre of the building which is lined with windows and outdoor picnic tables.
To the east of the guest facilities, a snow play area will be created, with the addition of a toboggan ramp.
The new resort will be built with substantial Asset Protection Zones around the buildings and training for staff in bushfire evacuation procedures to mitigate fire risks. The buildings will each be built according to Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) standards for the area and a total of 576,000L of dedicated firefighting water supply is proposed within the Quarry located atop the Selwyn Ski Resort for the R.O.C and Visitor Centre.
The design for the Visitor Centre building has large windows covering the length of the southern elevation of the building, allowing natural light to “saturate within the building and provide visual outlook from the building to the Resort’s ski fields”.
By building in stages, the resort hopes to “allow for the minimum facility requirements needed to reopen the resort,” which means a ski season may be possible as soon as the first half of the guest facilities (including cafe and toilets) is completed.
A final stage to complete the guest facilities building would be completed after that season.
The visitors centre will eventually include space for offices, retail shops, a plant room and a kids play area.
The plans include six modular dwellings for staff accommodation, accommodating up to 42 staff members. Five dwellings will be installed in Stage 1, with an additional dwelling added in Stage 2.
Resort visitors will likely be enthusiastic about the addition of an aerated septic system, which will replace the former “drop toilets”. The DAs outline an aerated septic system “that feeds a holding tank, where wastewater will be treated prior to being pumped to the quarry for use in snowmaking and bushfire fighting”.
“Due to the large scale and cost of the wastewater treatment system, the development application does not nominate a specific product or set out of the system,” stated the DA. “However, the civil engineering plans have catered to the wastewater treatment solution which presents the largest footprint. It will be an above ground system that will be fenced and locked off to prevent access by the public.”
Details of the sewerage treatment solution will be provided once selected. Drinking water will be provided from a different source.
The NPWS has asked for more detailed information on the wastewater system, including an evaluation of any risks “which might compromise the long-term effectiveness of the on-site system” and any potential health risks. The NPWS also wanted details of the “actions that will be taken in the event of a breakdown in the AWTS, or other interference with its operation.”
The NPWS further specified that “any wastewater must not be reused for snowmaking unless this activity is approved by NSW Health and meets all the required thresholds” and asked for regular testing to be undertaken.
Aside from concerns about the sewerage system, the NPWS was generally positive about the resort DA, saying that “NPWS has been fully engaged with the rebuild plans” and found that the plans “appear consistent with other relevant provisions” of the Kosciuszko Plan of Management 2006.
The RFS placed several conditions on its support of the DA, asking for one asset protection zone to be extended and stipulating a minimum size of 10,000-litres of static water supply for occupied buildings where no reticulated water is available.
The agency also asked for the development of a Bush Fire Emergency Management and Evacuation Plan, to be updated annually.
The DA estimates close to 40 construction jobs will be created through the entire project, with no significant effects on threatened species, populations, ecological communities or their habitats.
The Blyton Group has declined to comment on the plans, apart from confirming that the DAs have been lodged.