In just a few weeks' time, the size of the cash splash which will be dumped into the Snowy Mountains and the firmer detail of its "special activation precinct" master plan finally will be known.
Looking to guide the development of the region for the next 40 years, it is the most comprehensive and long-term NSW development plan in the region's history.
In March 2018, the federal government announced it would pay $4.1 billion to the NSW to buy 100 per cent of the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project, a financial windfall which NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro described at the time as a "boon for the bush".
The "activation precinct" for the Snowy region was part of that promise and to inform the discussion on what it should look like. The scoping studies and consultations have come in thick and fast.
However, sitting off to one side in the master plan discussion, part of it but well aware that their landlord, the federal government, holds the whip hand on them, are the NSW alpine area's two big resort operators, Thredbo and Perisher.
Sitting within the Kosciuszko National Park, this pair generate the lion's share of visitor income to the Snowy region.
Sitting at the base of the mountain access roads, the township of Jindabyne appears likely to be a major beneficiary. Flagged for the town are a foreshore redevelopment, a hugely expensive loop road around the back of the town to ease traffic congestion - the so-called Southern Connector from the Jindabyne dam wall to Widows Creek - and the identification of new infill and greenfields commercial and residential development areas.
However, leasing arrangements within the national park are not part of the plan and the NSW government has limited influence over resolving the issues of the park's key lessees.
Visit the snowfields in peak season and the kilometres-long traffic snarls all along the Kosciuszko Road during skier morning arrival and post-chairlift departure times are worse than Sydney's Military Road.
Climb further up Alpine Way to Thredbo, and Kosciuszko Road to Perisher, and a fresh problem emerges: finding a place to park. On weekends mid-season, Perisher's enormous parking pad fills to capacity and the spillover cars are turned around to end up nose-to-tail, for hundreds of metres, backed up alongside the access road.
Thredbo general manager Stuart Diver acknowledged there were limitations for the master plan in influencing the resorts issues but expressed the hope that it would at least address two key, but very separate, problems: governance and parking.
"There are governance issues around having ski resorts within national parks such as [lift] carrying capacity, the amount of beds, that sort of stuff; there needs to be a resolution to that because at the moment, it's very antiquated as to how that [planning and approval] is done," he said.
Another of the key issues identified in the master plan was that over 85 per cent of the estimated 980,000 visitors to the Snowy region every year arrive by car. On top of visitor numbers, the workforce in the area effectively doubles during the winter season.
"There needs to be a resolution to the issue of parking and transportation into the region," Mr Diver said, indicating a multi-storey carpark was the ideal solution.
"As a business, we're pretty comfortable with what we're doing and where we're going in terms of what we're doing to grow visitor numbers and attract more people but one of our big issues has always been: where do we park people when they get here?"
Far more locked into winter seasonal tourism than Thredbo, the US-owned Perisher resort has seen a plethora of proposals floated down through the years by various owners to tap its year-round visitor potential. None have eventuated.
The latest draft master plan for Perisher has revealed a potential "urban plaza", infill accommodation, and the potential for expansion within the existing leasehold.
In the housing and accommodation plan, both Perisher and Thredbo will need an extra 2238 short-term accommodation units "to meet the forecast visitor needs by 2061".
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