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26 March, 2021

Wangetti snub, Norway loves local trail specialist

LOCAL company World Trail have been awarded the contract to build Europe’s largest mountain bike trail in Norway valued at around $15 million.

By Nicole Gibson

Local company World Trail have been awarded the contract to build Europe’s largest mountain bike trail in Norway valued at around $15 million.

In 2019 the company were also awarded the contract to build Australia’s largest mountain bike trail in Warburton, Victoria.

The European contract has reignited questions over why they were overlooked to build the Wangetti Trail which was awarded to Toowoomba based Wagners Composite Fiber Technologies in September of last year.

The newly awarded contract will see World Trail send a team of 10 all-Australian trail builders, machine operators and designers to Høgevarde in Norway to build a destination mountain bike trail, 85 kilometres long, making it Europe’s largest.

The contract is set commence in June after its Norwegian proponents visited one of World Trail’s biggest Australian trails in Derby, Tasmania.

World Trail Director and World Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee Glen Jacobs said the proponents had originally intended to build a much smaller trail but changed their mind after their visit.

“We’re really lucky in Australia that our governments’ over time, have been very proactive towards outdoor adventure and mountain bike trails with destinations being funded everywhere, so (we’ve seen) our client come from Norway to ride the trails and go this is what we want,” Mr Jacobs said.

While the contract is a coup for the local company, who have undertaken 450 projects in 20 countries around the world, questions are still being asked as to why they didn’t get the Wangetti Trail contract.

Destination Cairns Marketing Managing Director Denis Donaghy said he was gobsmacked to learn the Wangetti contract had been awarded to a company that had never built a trail before.

“I was gobsmacked World Trail didn’t get the contract, not just the fact that it has been Glen’s baby all the way through – that shouldn’t justify getting the job, but the fact they’ve built mountain bike tracks all over the planet, and particularly in this area and for the Sydney Olympics, it was really a shock to find out that they didn’t get the work and that it went to organisation that had never built a mountain bike track,” Mr Donaghy said.

“Building a mountain bike and hiking trail from Palm Cove to Port Douglas isn’t like building a footpath, there’s an art to it.”

 Mr Donaghy said how well a trail is built had the potential to impact tourism numbers to a destination.

“If it’s a good walking trail that will positively impact tourist numbers, but not as much as if it’s a world class mountain bike trail as well and you need to reference what’s happened in Derby to know that when you build the mountain bike trail properly people come in big numbers,” he said.

“The people who come are usually fairly well heeled, riding very expensive bikes and leaving a lot of money in town.”

Mr Donaghy said he believed price was a factor in the decision.

Cairns Local News contacted the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport for clarification on the Wangetti decision however they had not responded at the time of publication.

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