RUAPEHU MOUNTAIN CLUBS ASSOCIATION (INC.)
This Newsletter is to briefly record the proceedings at the RMCA AGM held at Happy Valley Bistro on 10 October, and to update progress on the Sewerage Scheme for those Clubs who were not present. The meeting was well attended by nearly 30 Clubs, and this enabled full discussion of the various matters on the Agenda. The presentations by DoC, the Fire service and RAL were well received, and Club representatives made good use of the social time after the meeting and the excellent dinner at Lorenz’s to buttonhole these delegates and discuss the issues. Elections: We have previously told you that there were no resignations from the RMCA Committee, and no new nominations, so the existing team remains in place for the next two years. Annual Subscriptions: We have a legal bill for approximately $5,000 for advice given on the sewerage scheme payment options. This advice helped us push for the changes which Brian Anderson details below. The Committee recommended, and the meeting passed, a subscription of $120 per Club for those Clubs without buildings in the National Park, and $120 per building for those Clubs with buildings within the National Park (both the same as last year), and an additional $100 per building for those Clubs with buildings in the Iwikau and Whakapapa Villages to cover the legal costs and to allow sufficient RMCA funds to be available for travel and other costs that will be required to represent Clubs on the Sewerage Project Group. Compliance: No change from information previously sent to you. All Clubs that were using the Pinnacle organised scheme using Link for inspections have continued with the RMCA scheme that took over from Pinnacle. There are now 29 Clubs with 39 buildings using this scheme. Eruption Detection System: This is still progressing and on budget. It is slightly slower than planned but otherwise on target. IGNS have suggested to the Project Team that the detection devices be owned by IGNS as part of a country-wide detection system, and leased to the Ruapehu Eruption Detection System. This will be investigated by the Project Team with the criteria that the change must save money. The notification and alarm systems would remain owned by the EDS participants. Rubbish: Working well – with costs slightly lower than budgeted. At some future stage a transfer station will be built at Iwikau to get the bins under cover.
Bruce Road Loop Planning: Herwi Scheltus of DoC talked in general terms about plans to tidy up the Loop section of the Bruce Road. RMCA were quick to mention the need to retain over-night carparks at the top of the road, and will monitor these plans. Lodge Evacuation and NZ Fire Service: Three representatives led by Mark von Huben outlined the requirements, which are to get your evacuation scheme approved by the Fire Service (who apologise for taking so long to approve those plans that have been submitted), and then to test evacuation twice a year (including a test call to 111). Note that all evacuation plans must include a requirement to call 111 – stating the correct location (contact the Whakapapa Voluntary Fire Brigade to get this). RMCA suggest you put notices up beside all phone extensions with instructions of how to call 111, and your correct location description. Licence Review: The Hut Licence rentals are due for the 3 yearly revision by 30 June 1999. RMCA will be representing the Clubs during this review process. Club Advertising etc: There was some discussion about what could be done by RMCA to promote Clubs and support the work done by individual clubs. Ross Campbell is talking to RAL about including some references to Clubs in RAL brochures etc, and we may print a list of Club contacts that can be made available at the Top o’ the Bruce RAL Office. Ross has also had discussions with Dave Scott who operates the “snow.nz” internet site, with a view to designing an RMCA site at no cost. Some Clubs such as Aorangi and Tararua already have internet sites, and RMCA encourages Clubs to get an internet presence – it is a relatively cheap way to advertise the Club and keep in touch with members. RAL: Dave Mazey filled us in on RAL – much as you would expect, with a very bad 1 month season only made possible by much snow mining and moving. RAL are holding the cash from their insurance claim on trust while the appeal continues. Cash is short – but RAL survives and Dave is looking confidently to future snowy seasons, although he feels it will take a couple of years for skier-day numbers to build up again. Mount Ruapehu Scholarship Fund: This is a suggestion from Brian Jones of Ngati Tuwharetoa that Clubs might like to consider charging say $100/night for commercial accommodation over the Millennium periods of New Year 1998, and 1999, with $50/night to go to a Scholarship Fund run by RMCA to provide funds for Tuwharetoa selected students in vulcanology, engineering, sports medicine & tourism. If your Club is interested contact John Rockell at RMCA. You can also contact Brian Jones at 07 378 6055 for more information.
Sewerage: An Updated Report To Clubs On The Proposed Whakapapa Iwikau Sewerage Scheme The scheme as currently proposed and for which Resource consents have been applied for, is on hold. The scheme is being reviewed by the Project Management Group as it has concerns in relation to both governance and cost. The Ruapehu District Council (R.D.C.) does not have the financial resources to construct the scheme as currently designed. As a result of the above, R.D.C.’s future involvement in the scheme is being reviewed and they may not be involved with it in the future other than in their role as a regulatory body. It is likely the scheme will be owned and operated by a specially formed Utilities Company, the shareholders of which will be the end users, ie. the ski and tramping clubs, Department of Conservation, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, etc. It is considered likely that funding arrangements for the scheme would be arranged by the Utility company with a financial institution, the security for which would be a contract of supply with the Department of Conservation which in turn would levy end users through the Community Services levies. It is now unlikely that clubs will be able to contribute capital sums to the scheme. You will be rated in the normal way. There is now no definite timetable for the scheme; the Department of Conservation acknowledges that as a result of the past four very difficult years that the commercial operators and clubs have experienced on the mountain, this has resulted in difficult financial circumstances for many. As a result they will be asking the Whanganui Manawatu Regional Council for some leniency in relation to allowing current discharge consents to continue. The Project Management Group does not accept all the costs currently recorded by the Ruapehu District Council as relating to the scheme and will be having discussions with Council in relation to them. Until the matter of the Ruapehu District Council’s costs has been clarified and agreed, the club representatives on the Project Management Group have asked the Department of Conservation not to send out accounts to the clubs for the annual charge for the sewerage scheme. The scheme to date had identified two sites for the treatment plant – adjacent to the Whakapapanui River and the old National Park refuse site – both on Landcorp land. Resource consents were applied for both these sites, and in both cases strong legitimate objections have been received. The Project Management Group does not wish at this time to proceed with the Resource Consent applications. Clubs have received from the Auckland Tramping Club correspondence and information relating to an alternative method of disposal. The Project Management Group is happy to meet with A.T.C.’s representatives to discuss their proposals.
However, we would like to point out to clubs that both the Department of Conservation and Ruapehu Alpine Lifts consider as “non negotiable” the requirement that Black Water not be discharged on the mountain. It is considered culturally offensive to do so. Furthermore, we live in a National & World Heritage Park and therefore must accept the duty to maintain purity of the environment. Black Water could best be described as waste from the body, even if treated. ♦ Accordingly the scheme as proposed at present must be fully reticulated with final discharge away from the upper mountain slopes. ♦ Club licences require connection to a reticulated scheme if/when constructed. In summary it is the current aim of the Project Management Group to review all the options available to it in relation to the treatment of the sewerage and to provide the users with a scheme that is affordable and ensures its future viability. There is a very clear intention and desire to implement this scheme. It will proceed and we will endeavour to keep you informed of progress and likely commencement dates. Brian Anderson/Alan Thompson RMCA Representatives on the Project Management Group 15 October 1998 : World Heritage Celebrations: Clubs will have received invitations to the ceremonies to celebrate Tongariro National Park World Heritage status on 21 & 22 November. This is an occasion that Clubs should send representatives to. Good luck for the working party season – and we hope that the La Nina disperses before next winter! Ross Campbell President New Address I am shifting house on 27 October. From 28 October the address for RMCA and for the Secretary Treasurer will be: 6 Harvest Court Paraparaumu phone 04 298 1440 and fax 04 298 1446 Now I must go and pack up Kind regards John Rockell.