Waerenga Hut after the flood
In March 2005 a huge flood eroded the foundations of Waerenga hut and made the then site unusable. Some temporary foundations were put in to protect the hut from further damage.
In the subsequent two years a number of options were explored but with no clear conclusions. A well attended meeting was held on the 27th of March 2007 to provide an opportunity for members to express their views about the future of Waerenga Hut.
At this meeting a proposal was presented by Lindsay Cameron and Barry Durant, to move the current hut about 50 metres away from Browns Stream close to where the current toilet is located. Lindsay and Barry had explored the practicality of this proposal with a firm of house removers and it was estimated that the cost of moving the hut was around $20,000. The Department of Conservation had been consulted about the proposal and indicated it would support a firm proposal. Engineering advice had also been sought which supported the feasibility of the idea.
The new site would still be on the debris fan affected by the 2005 flood and therefore at risk to further flooding. It was however argued that the use of railway iron pilings and other measures would mitigate the risk from flooding and make the new site acceptable.
There was a brief discussion about other site and building options but the clear feeling of the meeting was in favour of shifting the existing hut and taking the opportunity to make improvements including adequate insulation and heating as well as a generous veranda.
There was also a brief discussion about the possibility of the project being done in some form of partnership with Hutt Valley Tramping Club. The Hutt Valley Club also faced the prospect of finding new accommodation in the Ōrongorongo Valley.
Lindsay and Barry offered their services as joint project managers for the hut restoration, an offer that was gratefully received by the General Committee.
Formal approvals and consents for the proposal will be required from the Department of Conservation and Hutt City but the expectation that these will be obtained later in the year and that the resiting and restoration will take place next summer.
I think this is an excellent outcome and should see the Club retain accommodation in the Ōrongorongo Valley without the need for major new expenditure.
Waerenga Hut shift
On the 30th October 2007 Hutt City Council issued the Resource Consent and on 23rd November 2007 it issued the Building Consent. Apart from the final negotiations with the contractors and arranging for General committee to finalise the contract it would appear that everything is in place to shift the hut sometime in February 2008 . We have lodged with the Department of Conservation both consents and hopefully before Christmas Barry Durrant and assistants will be in a position to clear the new site.
Background planning is underway to ensure that the project runs smoothly, and the Club as a whole will be kept briefed on developments, how members may assist and notification of any working bees. This will be done through the club website, announcements at club, The Tramper, and personal phone calls to those who already have expressed an interest in the project including those who helped install the new water supply tank earlier this year.
I would like to express my gratitude to those people who gave huge amounts of their professional time, free of charge, to ensure that the above consents were issued. These are, and in no particular order:
There is still a considerable distance to travel with the project and there may well be some difficult issues to deal with but in the main the first and major hurdle has been passed.