Newsletter 48

RUAPEHU MOUNTAIN CLUBS ASSOCIATION (INC.)

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

15 November 2004

To Member Clubs and Councillors

Newsletter 48

This years AGM was held 9th October and was attended by 59 delegates and observers from 35 clubs. Minuutes of the AGM are attached for your information. As ususal, the meeting was followed by the forum with the Department of Conservation and Ruapehu Apline Lifts Ltd.

Detail of the main issues at the AGM are covered in the minutes.

Items from the forum included the following.

Sewage Scheme

Mark Davies presentation was available in hardcopy to those present. It is now attached for your reference (RUAAO-8892). Perhaps the main point to note is for those clubs with lodges on Upper Salt Ridge is with removal of  septic tanks. This needs to be done while contractors are present with heavy machinery for removal of concrete.  A letter has also been sent to all clubs  by Greg Dyer from DoC with invoices and  further explanation on the cost and noting the interest rate on the capital  charge has reduced to 8%.

Grease Trap Maintenance for Club Huts

Raised at the Forum the following information is provided by Warren Furner from DoC. The information is also set out as an attachment should you wish to take or retain copy for Lodge Management Maintenance Officer or maintenance manual  if you have such a system.

Introduction

Grease traps are required to remove as much as possible dissolved and suspended inorganic matter form entering the sewers and waste water treatment plants.  Most blockage in pipes is caused by fat deposits over time.  In most cases grease and fats are derived from kitchen sinks and commercial type dishwashers and are washed into the waste system in warm water.  Your grease trap has been installed in your waste system between the kitchen wastes and the main sewer line.  Its purpose is to allow the water temperature to cool enough for fats to separate and be contained in the grease trap allowing the water to pass through into the sewers. The fats
cool and solidify on the surface and are easily skimmed off the top.

Maintenance

In most club huts the grease trap is designed to cater for 32 people served from a commercial style kitchen.  Fats will accumulate at different rates in each club therefore cleaning frequencies will vary accordingly.  A pre-season grease trap service is essential and regular inspections over the busier times is recommended.  The grease traps have two chambers and are fitted with and inspection port for each chamber.  Cleaning is simply removing the chamber screw lid and skimming the fats and oils from the surface.  A two litre ice-cream container is ideal for this.  The fats will be a mix of solids and liquid oils and are best transported to landfill in a 20 litre container.  If you service the trap regularly you can expect about 20-30 litres of grease and oils each time.

Disposal

Small quantities of grease and oils can be disposed of in the Taumarunui landfill.  There is no bulk facility at the Whakapapa Village transfer station for liquid wastes.  Commercial operators in both Taumarunui and Turangi offer waste water cleaning services.  They are:

Taumarunui Plumbing       07 8957023
Plateau Liquid Wastes Turangi  07 3866866

Crater Lake

Now 90% full, it is now expected that the rim will breach and result in a lahar down the Wangaehu sometime in 12 to 18mths during the Summer 2005/06.

Tongariro Park Management Plan

Progress has been delayed, is now in last stages of preparation, is soon to be forwarded to the board for approval. Is expected to be available early next year.

Solid Waste Management

The need for and plans for transfer station at Iwikau were presented by Warren Furner. He did ask for any comments on the plans as provided. I still have a couple of spare copies if any club delegates did not get one or  would like same. Having been given opportunity to comment on the plan, it will be difficult to criticise after  completion if we are not satisfied and there is no feedback to Warren

Loop Road Reconstruction

Plans were available showing the proposed changes. Construction is to commence this Summer.  Costing $1.2m  with $840,000 from Transfund and the balance from RAL.  Rather than being a loop, the road will be 2 lanes on the western side with a turning area and drop off area just beyond the Iwikau Shelter and Ambulance Bay.

Water Quality

This may be the most important issue to face clubs over the next few years. Ministry of Health standards for water supply are being revised. While information is still coming to hand it appears submissions were called for earlier this year.and revision is now in final stages which will be used as the basis for proposed legislation next year that will make compliance compulsory.

It appears that clubs will be included under Section 4.7 Approved Small Supplies Compliance.
Copy of this document is attached for your reference. It is recommended that you study this document.  From a quick perusal of this document it would appear that clubs will need a Public Health Risk Management plan (PHRMP), it will need to be current and implemented with regular sanitary inspection (6 monthly) and testing of water through an approved laboratory. Samples collected must be tested within 24 hours of collection.

Ammendments to the Building Act 1991 will require a compliance schedule and it will be issued with the Code Compliance Certificate.

Whether such regulations are realistic or manageable for clubs may be debateable.
Perhaps these requirements appear a little impractical and unnecessary. It was recommended at the AGM that clubs write to the Ministry of Health noting concerns.  After reading the attached document, feedback from clubs on any concerns would be appreciated so that we can circulate and take the matters further.  If  legislation is to be enacted next year, perhaps it will be appropriate for clubs to contact local MPs once we are clear on the issues that are of concern.  It may be helpful to know what position  DoC is taking with respect to back country huts and whether there are special provisions since it appears that all huts would be similarly affected.

Mountain Cleanup

Planned for early next year and likely to be a similar format to previous years, Saturday morning to be followed by a barbecue.  Tentatative date early March although DoC in conjunction with RAL have yet to confirm date. I shall advise as soon as date is known.

For those who may not have taken part in past years, it is a worthwhile exercise, suitable for all ages and a good opportunity to involve members who may wish to help out but do not have the skills required for some of the more difficult tasks on lodge work parties.

Track Access

The destruction of the track up from the A frame to lodges on Salt Ridge was unofficially acknowleded as something of a stuff up,  “a breakdown in communications”. We are all guilty of mistakes but we are assured it will be fixed prior to next winter with a widened track capable of taking a D4 machine and it will be kept clear  for access.

Service Levy

Some clubs raised concern over the 50% increase in the services levy when billed in September and had written to DoC.  Warren Furner advises that the additional cost is associated with operation of the new waste water plant and the cost is about $700 per year for a 32 bed lodge. It would appear that all clubs have been charged for the operation whether connected or not.

RAL – Dave Mazey

Reported that this year was the best in 10 years. Whakapapa was to close 31 October and Turoa 21 November.  Capital project this summer will be the snowmaking on the Waterfall ($1.5m) and reconstruction of carparks at Turoa ($1.25m).

Going forward will be very much dependent on the Park Management Plan. Likely to revolve around the 1500 bed village at Whakapapa at Iwikau (our lodges). According to survey are only 35% occupied during the Winter which is light for a recreation area. There is a need to develop a strategy where the industry wants or needs to be in 20 years time.  What was developed and suited the 1950s has moved forward and will continue to change.

Comment was made also of the closure of the mountain, now more frequent in less inclement weather. Results from a combination of  increased  awareness for safety, skiers being more discerning and venturing out less in poor conditions and improved facilities on the lower mountain with snow management from grooming and snowmaking.
Dave Mazey  re iterated RALs willingness to provide security patrols of  carparks on behalf of clubs but that it would be at a cost perhaps in range of $12 to $15,000 for RMCA clubs.

Followup from the AGM

Carpark Security

As  there was no resolution to the ongoing problem, RMCA would like to monitor the extent of the problem.  If clubs  provide information of incidents from this past season and any future incidents, this will provide a basis  should we wish to re examine and take some action in the future.  A brief  report forwarded to Secretary Treasurer  advising the date, time of day (or night), weather conditions, nature of incident, what was damaged or taken, whether reported to police and any other relevant data would be helpful.    (For your action)

Email Addresses

Further to previous advice, I have become aware that communication within some clubs is less than ideal and is not getting through in a timely manner, particularly in clubs where lodge management is not closely aligned with  the primary adminsitation of the club, ie there is a separate lodge committee.  Previously I have advised we would forward communication only to one email address due to the difficulty of keeping the address list current.  As a trial  I have created a 2nd mailing list with an alternate email address for clubs that are having such problems.

The main problem will be keeping addresses current which is a responsibility for clubs. Fifteen of  the 51 addresses currently listed have changed in the past 8 months.

If as a club you wish a 2nd person to receive the same newsletters and other correspondence, let me know.

Current address list is attached.  Please advise of any changes.

Retirement of  Councillors

Following the AGM, three councillors have retired after long periods of service. For many it will not be appreciated the contributions the have made over a period of years. Our outgoing president  acknowledged their valuable contributions at the meeting. Valedictories from Joe Taylor and Brian Anderson are printed for the record.   Alan Thompson has also had a long association  with council and was active with the development of the sewage scheme  when I became a councillor some 10 year ago.

Joe Taylor

My involvement with the council goes back to the days when we as a body had to deal with DOC and other organisations through Federated Mountain Clubs and the system was somewhat messy. We decided that as a group we had enough membership and assets at risk to do our own thing and after a little negotiation we became autonomous

WE dealt with the vagaries of the various Ski Associations that were starting up round that time trying to get one body to represent skiing in New Zealand so that they could attract corporate sponsorship.

We started on the long and very controversial road to obtaining our Club licences to allow us to stay on the mountain .This as we all now know ended successfully with us being granted three 20 year terms with each term subject to negotiation.
This term of occupancy then allowed the Ruapehu District Council to rate us and boy are they doing it. For the services that they provide us they are charging far too much.

Then came the sewage system. I’m sure that if we had not agreed to connect up to a scheme if it was put in we would not have been granted our long term occupancy.
This scheme certainly had its problems but with a willingness of all parties involved and with the acquiescence of our mountain the sewage system is up and running and performing well.

I’ve had a most interesting time on the Council and move off  knowing that we have been through some of the most demanding times to guarantee our continued right to  remain on Mt.Ruapehu

Brian Anderson

My initial involvement with RMCA was as a Club Representative on the Committee negotiating the Club Licences with the Department of Conservation.  I then moved onto the Association’s Council and was President for two terms.

I represented the Association and Clubs on the Project Management Group for the Whakapapa Sewage Scheme.

During my initial term as President the Association appointed John Rockell as its Administrator, and I believe that appointment, both as a move away from an organisation run by volunteers to being properly and professionally managed and John’s outstanding skills and knowledge, have made the Association a robust and effective representative of the Clubs on the mountain; something the Department of Conservation has recognised in negotiations on various matters affecting Clubs.  John Todd continues to manage the Association in a professional manner – it is in good hands, and I am very grateful to John Todd for it was he who suggested John Rockell would make a good Administrator.

I had the very good fortune to meet and work with the late Ross Campbell, who followed me as President; in relation to matters affecting the Clubs on the mountain Ross had no equal, and he has left above all the enduring legacy which he made his main aspiration, that the Clubs become part of the wider mountain community and work within and for that community rather than isolate themselves – the successful implementation of the sewage scheme is a very good example of Club cooperation and something that he was very keen to see completed.

For 10 years I have worked with Alan Thompson from the Hawkes Bay representing the Clubs at meetings far and wide across the Central Plateau in relation to the Sewage Scheme (from Taupo to Taumarunui!) and he has worked hard for the best result for Clubs.

My time with RMCA has been somewhat longer than I ever intended, mainly due to the drawn out nature of the Sewage Scheme – it has been interesting – I have made new friends, and have enjoyed working with Bill Chrystal, David Mazey, and Mark Davies and his D.O.C. team.

A lot has been achieved by the Association during the 12 year period I have been involved and it certainly has been rewarding.

Till next time have a pleasant summer,  I’ll let you know the date for the mountain clean up when known and we look forward to seeing a good turnout form your club.

John Todd
Secretary Treasurer