RUAPEHU MOUNTAIN CLUBS ASSOCIATION (INC.)
Address: 6 Harvest Court,
Secretary Treasurer: John Rockell
Phone 04 902 4415
Fax 04 902 4413
7 August 2000
To Member Clubs Newsletter 21 1. Evacuation Schemes and Smoke Detectors The last newsletter, Newsletter 20, March 2000, described the very unsatisfactory position where Fire Service had tried to persuade clubs to upgrade their safety systems by installing hard wired smoke detectors or replacing heat detectors with hard wired smoke detectors in sleeping areas and exit ways. Fire Service had suggested that the lodges of clubs which did not comply could be closed down by the local authority. Fire Service tried to enlist the support of Ruapehu District Council, the local authority, with the result that RDC wrote to all clubs to advise them that although it was supportive of any initiatives to increase building safety for occupants it had no legal power to act against a lodge which complied with the Building Act 1991 and the Building Code. So if your club lodge has an approved evacuation scheme and is being regularly inspected and maintained to keep its Warrant of Fitness then RDC has no ground for taking any action. But RDC also made the point that if you propose to upgrade, by for example replacing heat detectors with hard wired smoke detectors, then you will need to obtain a Building Consent from the council before beginning the work. RMCA President, Bill Chrystall wrote angrily to the Fire Service, frustrated that it had tried to pressure clubs to upgrade and had asserted without authority that it could enforce the upgrading, on pain of lodge closure. Yet it had been almost impossible to obtain precise details of what clubs had to do to comply with Fire Service requirements. The Fire Service replied with a “waffly” letter which had one very relevant section, as follows: Buildings that have approved evacuation schemes do not need to be upgraded, as long as the scheme has been maintained, there have been regular trial evacuations, and the building has not been altered. Nevertheless, the Fire Service has a statutory duty to provide advice to building owners and occupiers on fire safety matters. It is our duty to make people aware that smoke detection is likely to wake people sooner than heat detection, and we would strongly advise that such systems be installed in sleeping accommodation… RMCA still supports upgrading to hard wired smoke alarms in sleeping areas but is recognises that in many cases the cost of upgrading is a serious issue. It is a matter for regret that the tactics of Fire Service to try to force clubs to upgrade has had an opposite effect for some clubs.
2. Changes to Constitution proposed (a) Timing of Executive Council Election Process. At the last meeting of Council in March attention was drawn to the fact that all the dates associated with the two yearly election of an executive council were based on the expectation of the Annual General Meeting taking place in August. Thus, nominations were to be called for before 1 April and were to be received by 15 May. And this was for electing Councillors who would take office following the next Annual General Meeting But for several years the Annual General Meeting has been held in October and this time, towards the end of the ski season, has been accepted as the most suitable. There has been a long period between calling for nominations and the elected councillors taking office. For this reason Council agreed that a motion should be proposed at the AGM to amend the clauses of the Rules and Constitution so that the timing of the election process would fit better with an AGM held in October rather than August. The detail of the amendments is shown in the Notice of Motion It was agreed that the new times proposed should be used this year in anticipation of Members’ agreement at the AGM. Following this discussion several other constitutional changes were considered and it was agreed they should also be offered for consideration by the AGM. (b) Replacement of an Executive Council Member Who Becomes Unavailable to Continue. The current Rules provide only for the replacement of an Executive Council member who resigns. There was agreement that replacement for reasons other than resignation should be included in the Rules. (c) Eligibility Of A President To Serve Two Full Terms. Following the death of Ross Campbell Council agreed that Bill Chrystall should be President for the remainder of the two year term. The Rules seemed somewhat ambiguous as to whether this would use one of the two concurrent terms for which a president is eligible. Council has agreed that a president can be elected for two full terms by an AGM and accordingly the Rules should be clarified by amendment. (d) Northern Ski Association The role of the Northern Ski Association has diminished to the point where it is not now registered as an incorporated society. Council considered that it should not be required to observe and promote its objects and activities and that such references should be taken out of the Rules. As noted above the detail of all the changes proposed can be seen in the Notice of Motion. Minor typographic and syntax errors should also be corrected. 3. Election of Executive Council In May nominations for the Executive Council were sought and Member Clubs were requested to have their nominations with the [Acting] Secretary by 15 July. By that date one nomination had been received for the office of President and four for that of Councillor. Subsequently two more nominations have been received for Councillor. The latter two are out of time. However because the date set by which nominations should be received anticipates the proposed constitutional change noted above the whole process could be called into question. The President and Immediate Past President (Brian Anderson) have considered the matter and agree that the proper course is to accept all of the nominations received up to this time, (one for President and six for Councillor) and invite confirmation of this action from the AGM. Because there was only one nomination for President and exactly six for the six Councillor positions the nominees who are elected, subject to confirmation are: President Mr W D (Bill) Chrystall Nominated by Ruapehu Ski Club Councillor Mr H (Hugh) Barr Tararua Tramping Club Mr P B (Peter) Garrett Aorangi Ski Club Mr M J D (Malcolm) Stapleton Alpine Sports Club Mr A F (Alistair) Stewart Ruapehu Ski Club Mr J H (Joe) Taylor Puketoi Mountain Club Mr A (Alan) Thompson Havelock Ski Club 4. The Annual General Meeting The Annual General Meeting of RMCA is set down for Saturday, 14 October. In the past, the AGM and the meeting with DoC and RAL staff, followed by a dinner at Lorenz’ have been reckoned as very successful and helpful in securing a good relationship with the clubs and organisations which use Ruapehu. So arrangements will again be similar to those for last year with the meeting beginning in the Happy Valley Bistro at 4:00 p.m. DoC staff will join with the clubs and RAL at 6:00 p.m. for another wide ranging discussion and this will be followed by a dinner for those attending. DoC will be writing to member clubs with details and to obtain the names of those who will be coming to the dinner. In the meantime, don’t forget to put these meetings in your diary. The subject matter will be of great importance to clubs and your club should be represented, preferably by two members. Sewerage Scheme. I had hoped that by now I would have substantial news to give clubs to add to that given in Newsletters 19 and 20 of 1 February and 29 March. You will remember that Ruapehu District Council had decided in 1998 that it could not afford to borrow the monies needed to build the scheme. DoC and the working group began to look at other ways to finance the scheme and began a review of the scheme and its costs. RDC subsequently showed that it still wanted to play a part. DoC reviewed its position and came up with the proposal to enlarge the Whakapapa Treatment Plant and discharge treated effluent near the Golf Corse. It was also able to show how funds could be borrowed. I understand that RDC met at the end of July to consider its future involvement but the outcome of their meeting is not yet known.
DoC and RDC have also had further discussions on the disputed $520,000 engineering design and operating costs for which RDC was seeking payment. RMCA has remained firmly of the view that until the matter is resolved satisfactorily DoC should not attempt to bill clubs and clubs should not make any such payments. Having said that, the scheme has not folded but the time frame has certainly stretched out. It is likely that obtaining resource consents will take at least another year and that construction is unlikely to begin before 2002. DoC is hopeful of holding a workshop in September and RMCA is hopeful that the way ahead will then be clearer. The Enclosures Enclosed with this Newsletter are: 1) Newsletter 21 2) Notice of the Annual General Meeting to be held on 14 October. 3) A form for Member Clubs to give advice of their delegates. Remember, each club can have one voting delegate. Let me know, with this form, who it is to be. Other club members can of course attend. 4) A Notice of Motion that amendments of a number of clauses of the Constitution and Rules be made together with the detail of the proposed changes. 5) Minutes of the last AGM 6) Financial Accounts – Income & Expenditure and Balance Sheet. John Rockell Secretary Treasurer.