Newsletter 46

RUAPEHU MOUNTAIN CLUBS ASSOCIATION (INC.)

Address: 130c Cook St, PALMERSTON NORTH
Secretary Treasurer: John Todd
Phone 06 356 1561

E-mail: ajohntodd@clear.net.nz

16 July 2004

To Member Clubs and Councillors

Newsletter 46

Greetings, I have yet to visit the mountain this winter but from radio reports as I write this, it sounds like there is plenty of snow.

Sewage Scheme Update

Firstly my apologies for the brief but urgent email of  27 June. I know it created concern to many clubs and resulted in many enquiries. I am now a little more informed and can now explain further.

Our President (Bill Chrystal) was at a Project Steering Group Meeting with DoC (11th June) where a question was raised by one of the stakeholder representatives as to whether Club’s could pay their estimated contribution to the cost of the sewage scheme prior to 30 June 04 and thus mitigate the first six month capital charge cost that would have accrued when the Department of Conservation completed the first of its bi-annual billing runs in July 04. This question was taken back to the Department of Conservation for consideration and an answer in the affirmative was given on Thursday 24 June. It was a further 3 days before contact was made with Bill. Bill contacted myself immediately to advise of this and I immediately sent out the email to clubs and councillors. Regrettably I was away the following 5 days and many clubs phoned and sent emails to which I was unable to respond.

This is the background situation as I now understand it.

Clubs will be fully aware, construction of the sewage scheme began last Summer and is now operable for a majority of the club lodges. Negotiations have been ongoing for a long time with RMCA represented on the Project Steering Group by Brian Anderson and Alan Thompson.

Negotiations resulted in a Memorandum of  Agreement (MOA) being signed by participants. This document was in draft for a long time but was finalised and signed by  participants with Bill Chrystal signing on behalf of  all RMCA clubs late April. Although the document is not formally binding for clubs, the reality is that clubs are committed to the scheme through the terms of the lodge licences. A copy of the finalised MOA as signed was attached to Newsletter 45 sent out late May.

The cost to clubs is expected to be in the vicinity of  $45,000 per lodge + GST excluding connection fees and capital charges. (When I became a councillor 10 year ago the cost spoken of was $16,000 per lodge but rose to over $40,000 over the next 6 years but has remained at this level since then). The final cost to clubs and other participants will not be known until this time next year when construction has been completed but there is confidence it will be close to the figures advised.

Clubs and other participants in a letter from Greg Dyer, Business Services Manager, DoC, dated 31 March 2004 were advised of the  progress on the scheme, that charges would commence from 1 July 2004 and the options for payment as set out in Appendix 2 of the MOA. The three options for payment as set out in the Memorandum are

1) Payment by installment over the next 20 years (with interest at the rate charged by Treasury who have provided funding through DoC),
2) A combination of periodic lump sums with reduced installments or a shorter term or
3) Lump sum payment up front.

The letter stated  that stakeholders were to advise DoC of option preference by 30th June (Clubs were advised at the AGM and forum last October).  I trust all clubs have now done so.

The Letter also stated
“ for stakeholders wishing to take advantage of option 3, physical cash payments will need to be received by 01 November 2004”.

At the time and possibly due to change of RMCA Secretary, I did not receive a copy of the letter but have been contacted by a number of clubs in the past 2 months and most of these clubs have been in further consultation with DoC.

The letter of 31 March did not state that regardless of paying the lump sum by 1 November, clubs would still be billed for interest for the 1st 6 months. It was through the collective knowledge and contacts, that the change in policy allowing clubs to make payment of the lump sum by 30th June to mitigate the first capital charge cost was made. (My understanding was that this option came via a club member with contacts in Treasury). It was this option but without the background information known which prompted the urgent email of  27 June.

Payment by the 30th June has now passed, a number of clubs did take advantage of the option, others have been in discussion and will likely pay the lump sum later this year.

Based on the pre 30th June payment the saving to clubs would vary but assuming a cost of near $45,000 and funds are available but earning say 5.5% at present and the interest charge from Treasury (passed on by DoC) is 8.5% for the next 6 months, the saving to clubs was approx $650.

The sewage scheme and payment option will be discussed further at this years forum in October. Please forward any questions and concerns and I shall continue to seek the answers for you.

Lodge Water Quality

An issue raised at a recent Community Services Group meeting. New water standards are likely to become mandatory in 2005. Health Department (not DoC) regulations are expected affect all clubs with lodges on and off the mountain and potentially back country huts. Water may have to be filtered and treated, preliminary indications are that equipment required may cost around $5,000 and monitoring will be required. This will be an agenda item for the October forum with further information as it becomes available.

A number of other issues of concern to clubs were also raised at the Community Services Group meeting. The Loop Road redevelopment is likely going to tender in August. Cost estimated at $800,000, 75% funded by Transit with RAL funding balance but clubs may also be required to contibute. Debate from clubs on this is expected.

Biennial Election of Executive

As advised in last newsletter, nominations were called for President and six councillors and closed 15th July.

As at closing date  one nomination for president and six nominations for councillors have been received. Consequently no ballot will be required and the nominees are elected unopposed. The councillors take up their positions for a two year term following this years AGM.

President  Peter Garrett  –   (Aorangi Ski Club)

Councillors Hugh Barr  – (Tararua Tramping Club)
James McKenzie – (Sniowline Ski Club)
Nickee Sanders – (Iwikau Ski Club)
Brian Stephenson – (Alpine Sports Club)
Gary Sims  – (Puketoi Mountain Club)
Grant McTavish – (Downhill Ski Club)

Our retiring president, Bill Chrystal (Ruapehu Ski Club) remains on council as Immediate Past President.

AGM and Annual Forum with RAL and DoC.

Tentatively set for Saturday 9th October, further detail to follow.

Mountain Cleanup

An RAL/Club mountain cleanup is proposed similar to that held some years back. Likely to be mid October. Further detail not known.

RMCA Subscriptions

Invoices were sent to all clubs mid June. My thanks to those clubs that have now paid, 26 of 49 paid to date, pretty good for less than 30 days. I appreciate that not all clubs meet frequently and account approval can take time but as all treasurers know, it is much nicer to have payments come in promptly and it eases the job. After years in banking I know all the excuses, even when the cheque was posted yesterday but somehow when arriving always has tomorrows postmark.  To be identified as unfinacial at the AGM through an admin oversight can be at least a little embarrassing.

I look forward to receiving the rest of the payments in near future.

Ohakune New World

Anna Meyer  (Ngauruhoe Ski Club) advises they have received a letter regarding a change of ownership and that the supermarket requires renewal of account information and a new requirement for personal guarantees on accounts.  This advice has been circulated direct to all clubs with a request to respond.  If  clubs would like a response from RMCA to New World, please let me know your views and I can respond on behalf of all clubs.

Email Addresses

Contact by email has become the norm for communication. It is faster and more efficient and cost effective. A problem may exist if the mail is not being sent to the right club contact. Our previous secretary did have some troubles with keeping addresses current and since taking over I have had a small number of changes of address. There is no problem for those with permanent club email addresses but where club contacts change potential problems exist.  As per the email to which this newsletter is attached I have requested reply to confirm receipt and that the receiver from me is still the club contact.

All the best for good weather and good skiing, may even see you on the slopes.

John Todd
Secretary Treasurer