Just to let all you Ruahine users know, at the last inspection of the Mid Poh swing bridge the anchors were given a short life span and the cables a slightly longer one. The end date for the anchors is now here so DOC is obliged to either fix/replace or remove the swing bridge. They have decided that the swing bridge will be removed, and plan to do so this month. At the time of removal a track will be cut down to the river at a better place to cross to access the Mid Poh hut.
The decision to remove rather than replace has come about because the incumbent government provides DOC with less money than is required to maintain all existing back country assets. It has also directed that assets be assessed in a cost per user manner. As this is a low use area the numbers don’t stack up. Another consideration which contributed to this decision is the access from the park boundary. Currently the legal access to the sidle track that leads to the swing bridge is either from the Pohangina Valley East road via the river or from Takapari road, both of which require unbridged crossings of the Pohangina river. The alternative access to the start of the track that does not require crossing the river is across farmland (the farmer should be rung before this is used). As farmers can change their minds about access and/or farms be sold there is no guarantee that this access will remain an option indefinitely. So the reasoning is that if the farmland access is lost you are going to have to cross the river anyway so not having the swing bridge is not going to influence whether you can get in to or out from the hut.
Has DOC advertised the removal of this asset?
The life cycle model that DOC uses for its visitor assets ensures that funds (albeit paper money :AMIS)are allocated automatically.This does not mean of course that the money is available, but would need to be budgeted and bid for in later years.
Anchors and cables are not an overly expensive exercise, although the last one i saw done was Mid Waiohine and stainless cables were used.
To remove and clear the old bridge site of materials will also be expensive;why not use this money for maintenance?
The area may be little used but bridges such as Mid Pohangina save lives.The biggest cause of death in the hills is drownings.
The access question is really something that can be negotiated with the existing owner, unless there is already some agreement.
A precedent is already emerging from DOCs so called "lack of money ".......
Existing assets, unless determined unsafe(then they should be closed), should be maintained to service standards by making the necessary funds available to repair them to standard. Alternatively there is a good case for installing a 3 wire "bridge".
Once assets are removed they wont ever be replaced.
"Has DOC advertised the removal of this asset?"
If it's the same as the nearby Mid-Pohangina Hut, that bridge would be under the jurisdiction of Manawatu/Whanganui side. Presently there doesn't look to be anything in the online alerts for that area -- http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/plan-and-prepare/alerts/manawatu-whanganui/
Nothing indicated on the alerts for the Hawkes Bay side either, for that matter. http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/plan-and-prepare/alerts/hawkes-bay/
I have just come back from a few days visiting Roaring Stag,Cattle Ridge and Herepai Huts and now i hear Cattle Ridge is to be removed.Has anyone heard anything about this?I hope not as its in such a cool spot and just needs some TLC.
There were several huts in the Tararuas that were marked as "seeking community maintenance" in the last Recreational opportunity Review compiled by Wellington Conservancy in 2004 .They were Dorset Ridge,North Ohau, Battery Stm (removed because totally damaged by flooding)Blue Range,Cattle Ridge,Nth Mangahao,Waiotauru,Ngapotiki and Sayers Huts.The only one that i know that has a signed Community Maintenance Agreement is Dorset Ridge ,Amalgamated Helicopters and a tramping club from Levin have completed a great job on this hut.
Cattle Ridge was to be maintained by NZDA ,Wellington Branch and negotiations were going nicely . For some obscure reason Bush Br ,NZDA were asked by DOC to maintain the hut and Wellington Br now look as though they have lost interest.
"Core Huts" receive full funding from doc for maintenance and Nichols , Arete Forks and Neill Fks were added to an already extensive list of maintained huts in the ROR.
The 2004 ROR was to apply until 2011 and all tasks relating to decisions of this review should have been completed by the end of 2011(or the end of the financial year,possibly)
Many of these tasks/recommendations remain outstanding and may never get completed.
It is possible that facilities could be in danger of not being maintained,but the reasons for removing any asset should in my view be put to the general public for consideration .The Castlepoint Causeway walk(was Historic)was removed as far as i am aware without any public consultation , and i dont want to see an organisation who dont really own any land (they are kaitiaki -caretakers only)charging ahead with the indescriminate removal of public assets without consultation.
Last time i was at Cattle Ridge i dug a new dunny hole and put a new Norski toilet in.The hut needed painting ,inside and out , new benches ,a new log fire and a few structural bits and pieces .
Must check to see if DOC have a new ROR or equivalent ,or whether they will just respond to tasks as they occur.
If they do have one for the Tararuas, it's not been updated on the DoC website. The most recent Wellington one is from 2004. http://www.doc.govt.nz/getting-involved/consultations/results/doc-recreation-opportunities-review/
Interesting, I'll have a read later.
I asked about Cattle Ridge in the WTMC forum, and word's come back that: "It's been examined, recognised as in a poor state, and full maintenance is being planned (and maybe executed). NZDA is managing the hut." http://www.wtmc.org.nz/forum/read.php?5,6806,6814
So fortunately it doesn't seem as bad as removal.
I wouldn't be so hopeful about Cattle Ridge.
As pointed out by oldgoat there was almost an agreement for Wellington NZDA to take it on but that got mucked about, fell over and the funding originally organised is no longer available. However it should not be removed until it is unsafe and/or unsanitory which if people are good to the hut should be a reasonable way in the future.
As far as I am aware the other huts in the Tararuas which are likely to be removed when they become unsafe/unsanitory are Renata and Waiotaru.
I think notification for the mid-poh swingbridge will appear when it is removed, probably not before.
There are signs on the bridge saying it is unsafe and should not be used. I emailed DOC to suggest that a sign at the beginning of the track would be helpful. No reply as yet, but they may have put one up since. But agree: signs on the track not the same as 'publishing' which would allow feedback and suggestions.