What is next for the future of the Valley’s coal mines?

THE future land use of the Latrobe Valley’s three coal mines has been put to the public.

Some of the ideas might shock you.

A motorsports complex, a botanical garden and an extreme sports venue for bungee jumping were among the inspired ideas shared by 26 residents at an Environment Victoria workshop on Tuesday night.

Held at the Falcons 2000 Soccer Club, the non-profit environmental organisation heard ideas about how the Latrobe Valley coal mines could be utilised after power station closures.

“The mines are a huge part of the local community and at some point they’re not going to be mines anymore,” Environment Victoria safe climate campaign manager Nicholas Aberle said.

“This is not to say this is the one solution, or what it should be, it’s about the things we want to strive for and consulting the community about their vision for the future of the Valley.”

The community input on long-term mine rehabilitation will be taken to public hearings into mine rehabilitation at the reopened Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry next month, where Environment Victoria are due to appear.

Dr Aberle explained current mine operators planned to turn Yallourn, Loy Yang and Hazelwood mines into lakes, but it was important rehabilitation standards met community expectations.

He said mine operators would be held accountable for short-term mine rehabilitation efforts such as clay capping and fire prevention, but there needed to be more discussion about future land use.

“It was really a once in a lifetime opportunity to say what the ultimate land use of these areas could be when the mines stop being mines,” Dr Aberle said.

The Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry will run public hearings into Terms of Reference 8, 9 and 10 relating to mine rehabilitation on 8-11, 14-15 and 18 December at Latrobe Performing Arts Centre, Traralgon.