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News Falls Creek Hotham Alpine Crossing. The master plan. What a heap of horsepoo.

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by Mister Tee on XC Skis, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Perhaps Parks Vic better watch out for Intergalactic Auxiliary and Rescue Command!...:eek::eek::eek:

    Holy moly Jesus Brother Gut may be planning a Reno job once High Knob Glamper ville is constructed...o_O.

    But it's alright he does things "on behalf of higher powers"
    Perhaps Boris Becker has given Parks Vic some warnings:whistle:
     
  2. Moondog55

    Moondog55 One of Us

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  3. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Such small biscuits for govt....when they have just wasted so much money on insidious Management Draft Meetings,Consultants and glossy publications!.......

    Yes going around in circles is exactly what this whole charade is doing .....
    Tawonga Huts could have had a retrofit cattleman chimney with a Roper/Weston's like wood heater to boot...instead of the smoking open fireplace....much benefit could have gone down in so many areas for a few thousand dollars!
     
  4. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I do agree that the route of the new walk is highly "contrived" and I don't think it will be as successful as was hoped. But I don't think building it has anything to do with "politicians... feel the urge to spend taxpayer $$$$s in support of some private business".

    "Political awareness" of the area amongst city politicians really just goes back 15 or so years to the debate over grazing. The mountain cattlemen did a great job of publicising what they saw as their right to remain on their ancestral lands. While they may have won the publicity battle, in the end they lost the war. But due to the cattlemen's successful spin campaign, politicians and bureaucrats became aware of the shortage of non agricultural jobs for them to go to. So they fell back on the standard city persons response to potential rural unemployment "give them jobs in tourism".

    Now not even the most deluded yuppie or hipster who has never left the inner city could imagine a drover becoming a waiter and swapping his stockwhip for a lace apron. So in order to "resolve" the mountain grazing issue, the government did what governments often do with problems and threw a heap of money at it. Some of the money was spent on useful but intangible things like retraining, some of the money was spent on useful things like sealing the Bogong High Plains Road and some was wasted on useless local projects or by paying city companies millions to write feasibility reports and the like.

    So this 5 day Falls to Hotham walk is partly an extension of what began 15 years ago and partly the reaction by politicians and bureaucrats to people getting excited by "a shinny thing". In this case the shinny thing is big name walks. The mindset was probably along the lines of "Tasmania and New Zealand have iconic walks that get lots of publicity and tourist dollars, so let's get one of those for Victoria".

    But sadly these big name walks can't be bought, nor can they be manufactured. The only walks that have become international drawcards in their own right have a reputation that evolved over decades because they have the best reward for effort. So despite the sincere best efforts of the consultants who designed the walk, I'm fairly sure that it won't "sell" by attracting sufficient walkers to justify the expense, nor will it generate many local jobs except during a brief construction phase.

    If they really wanted to artificially create a big name walk they should have informally chatted to five groups. (and not gone all bureaucratic and formed expensive 'consultative committees' and invited written submissions). Those groups are:
    1. Local business people, especially but not confined to local tourist industry businesses.
    2. People who have guided first time tourist walkers in the area.
    3. Experienced hikers who know the area well, both clubs and individuals.
    4. Agencies responsible for big name walks like Milford and Overland (by email, no expensive junkets to Tassie or NZ)
    5. Tourist nufties who can be found in places like the Bright and Mt Beauty tourist info centres.
     
    #554 Bogong, Jun 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
  5. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    While I do agree with your sentiment I am having trouble reconciling whether your comments are based on factual information or assumption and gut feeling. The Lovick's and Stoney's had a tourism business prior to being kicked of the mountains but I am trying to think of others who have gone into tourism after the cattle leases were taken away. They all have working farms in the lower country. Treasures still have state forest lease in Alpine areas. Faithful's are still working their extensive holdings and nothing else, Batty's the same, Tony Fitzgerald works Mon-Frid on the road crew but did that before when his father was alive. I would be interested to know if you have more info.
    Some state government money (via Vic Roads) was handed over to the shires to seal the road. It would appear they decided to do a quick (dodgy) job and pocket the rest or distribute it to other roads in the shire. Some of the money was to be used for maintenance in the years to come. In fact the manner this road was sealed is an abuse of public money and the entire surface needs to be ripped up and done properly. The corrugations were simply tarred over. The Alpine shire decided the dirt from the AGL tunnel would be a good base and cheap because it was not far away. Everybody is now blaming somebody else fro the mistakes made on this road. The Alpine shire now do very little to maintain their part apart from some pot hole filling in spring and speed restriction signs. The Omeo Hwy sealing project is an example of how things should have been done. $14M was allocated and the company came in $1M under plus finished it before scheduled.

    Not to be outdone by these, Victoria decided it would do a number of iconic walks. There are 3 currently listed (FHAC being one),The Great Ocean Walk (running at a loss) and the Grampians Peak Trail. The next on the list is Croajingolong coast walk. But you are correct, the mindset was to try and suck in some of the tourist dollars going elsewhere. PV acknowledge that is going to be difficult as the target market is quite discerning.
    There was some consultation in the early stage with experienced bushwalkers and many like myself told them to take a jump when they revealed what they intended. I am led to believe there was some consultation with the people running the other walks also but can't confirm. Tourism NE is a driving force with the Falls Creek RMB and have provided significant data but none have bothered to survey those whom this type of walk is marketed to. The data provided was very much flawed anyway. There may be a very small market for guided and fully catered walks in the area but it would not substantiate the capital investment from the government at this stage.

    I understand that the walk itself had to be contrived to make it different from the AAWT (which it follows mostly on the current alignment, apart from Heathy Spur). It also need to take advantage of some areas which could be serviced by road and the only place that cannot is High Knob camp on the Razorback. This camp is critical to the plan (contrived walk) but PV admit very few will take up the challenge of Diamantina spur so the cost to build and service it may in fact be the downfall of the project, although it may evolved using Machinery or Swindler spurs but then it may as well stay with the AAWT. I doubt Tourism NE or Falls RMB will care as long as the serviced huts are built on the High Plains and can be used for back country ski accommodation when nobody wants to use them for the walk. If the walk is successful then they win also but take the winter accommodation away and I am sure the RMB will lose interest quickly.

    The money in the current budget is for the design stage plus the economic and environmental assessments and that will take some time. It may also show the entire exercise is fruitless. There still needs to be some changes in planning laws to allow the huts to be built but nobody seem to be able to answer the question as to which laws. DELWP may in fact put a stop to it. Planning laws for accommodation are very strict and changing the laws for this one place could be problematic for the rest of the state. Also, if meals are to be provided by way of cooking on site (by anyone other than the client and not including mircowave reheating of pre-packaged food) then the kitchen has be be an approved commercial kitchen with refrigeration for food, hot and cold running water, at least 2 sinks and a range hood. An all weather road access is required and should encircle the building and at least 10000 litres of water has to be held separately for fire fighting. There are also requirements for the number of toilets and showers. I would also suggest the luxury theme has been played out and nothing built will fall into that description according to PV. So whatever is built has to be legal or made legal by changing the law. Concepts may look shiny but when it comes to the execution of the concept the reality hits.

    I am reminded of someone's brilliant idea to build a railway over the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, via the Grose Valley. A team of Army engineers sitting around doing nothing in Port Arthur were commissioned to survey the route and took a number of years doing it. When complete the person who commissioned them went out to have a look and hit the roof. There was clearly no way a railway could be built there and many years had been wasted on the project. It was however a very nice bridle track and the engineers did a great job. The project was abandoned and within couple of years the bridle track had been closed in places due to rock slides. It would have been obvious much earlier if someone in the government actually went out to have a look. History repeating.
     
  6. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks for the response Xplora. I decided to delay that post for a few weeks to allow the low level sparring and point scoring that had characterised this thread to die down.

    I think everyone agreed that the BHP road had been badly sealed on the cheap when it happened about 10-ish years ago. But that's just a symptom of my argument that state governments will throw just enough money at a problem to make it go away for a few electoral cycles (by which time the other mob will be in power). Unlike the BHP road which was sealed mostly for city based tourists, the Omeo highway was sealed partly for local pork barrelling reasons. The Nats promised to seal it if voters replaced the Labor aligned independent MP for East Gippsland with a National Party MP and the locals were sufficiently savvy that they would see through a cheap and dirty job like the recently completed BHP road.

    Yes some of the better known mountain cattlemen families had other forms of income, but others relied on grazing with small holdings in the valleys that were big enough to pasture cattle in winter, but too small to sustain sufficient cattle all year round to make a living. Moreover almost all lease holders employed extra labour to help them manage their leases. This extra income from doing casual work for the mountain cattlemen was important for many locals who had low incomes from other sources.

    'Iconic' walks. Aaaargh! As I said in my post yesterday, they can't be bought or manufactured, they have to evolve to incorporate a sensible route connecting appealing locations. The Great Ocean Walk has a snappy name (give a bonus to the marketing company who thought that one up), but most of it is a rather dull trudge connecting a few sections that are rather lovely. It's become less popular as people are realising that the walk experience doesn't measure up to the marketing spin. By contrast this Falls to Hotham walk zig-zags around all over the place in an attempt to visit every minor point of interest. Most people reading this will have hiked between the two ski towns in a single longish day, A new route designed to make things easier might be justified over two days, but five days? That's just bonkers. There are much better routes for a five day easier walk in the area that would be more satisfying to people unfamiliar with the area and which would be cheaper to build but be more popular, thus delivering more money and jobs to the local economy. I outlined one from Bogong Village via the tram and Bogong Creek Saddle to Hotham in an earlier post, but there are a few other possibilities that would be a better experience for tourists and cheaper to build than the proposed one.

    ... And yes, I agree, a sensible tourist route would go via either Swindlers or Machinery spurs, trying to send crowds of nufties up Diamantina Spur is just asking for the whole concept to fail... (unless they install an escalator.)

    Planning laws? These can easily be discreetly "adjusted" on a "one off, unique case" basis if both Labor and Liberal agree, especially if the Nats are urging the bigger political parties on.
     
  7. Chaeron

    Chaeron Ski-Hike-Blade-Bike-Kayak Ski Pass: Gold

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    I reckon they should give the resorts what they want w.r.t. modern serviceable huts between Falls and Hotham, at or near Westons and Dibbins.

    For the Dibbins location you could put it further down towards Swindlers Spur so its out of the line of sight of Dibbins hut itself.

    I.M.O building the lease for these into the resort leases will make them workable and sustainable in ways that are otherwise improbable.

    Look at the Tassie tussle over private for profit operations in national parks:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-...operator-halls-island-proposal-in-wha/9636466

    This will allow the resorts to run guided backcountry ski tours - either there or back (20km ski trip over 2 days) or the crossing.

    This will also give them their crossing hike during summer.

    It will protect Feathers for posterity and allow them to have huts which are more easily serviceable.

    The only issue is that the route is ‘unspectacular’ - ironically the vistas are great while the walking/ skiing is easier.

    A proposal like this is the middle way, unattractive as it may appear, and as contrary to the spirit of National Parks as it may be.

    The Victorian Libs-National coalition have always had a thing about exploiting the National Parks more in terms of opening them to private operators - the whole Point Nepean debate is a good example of this, besides of course the whole cattlemen of the high country nexus.

    https://www.theage.com.au/national/...epean-redevelopment-saga-20160416-go7ysp.html

    My logic for this proposal is that it aligns with the primary intentions of the main movers of the original proposal - the commercial parties, while simultaneously reducing the impact on the National Park as a whole.

    Personally I still hold that additional development in National Parks is wholly inappropriate, but raising their profile by increasing managed use is a key factor to developing the political awareness which is central to their continued protection.

     
    Mister Tee on XC Skis likes this.
  8. Chaeron

    Chaeron Ski-Hike-Blade-Bike-Kayak Ski Pass: Gold

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    +1,000. Between @Xplora and @Bogong I reckon the debate is settled. I reckon a sensible letter to the Merlin management board (current Falls/ Hotham leaseholders) and Spring Street, and DPSE and Tourism Vic would get a hearing in a way that the ‘public consultation process’ might not.

    The accountants who have to sign off on breakeven analyses will see things more objectively than the parties with an eye on electoral issues.
     
  9. Chaeron

    Chaeron Ski-Hike-Blade-Bike-Kayak Ski Pass: Gold

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    All credit to the mods and @Xplora and @Bogong for getting this thread back on ‘track’.
     
    MarkV likes this.
  10. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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  11. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    DELWP staff need to stand their ground ....they will be instrumental in bringing diwn this shonky proposal and not making concessions to placate any in those Resort Management Boards .:mad:
     
  12. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I had kind of given up on this thread for the very same reason but you have put something new into the mix and it was worth a response. Still processing things but I can see more agreement with your sentiment and content.
     
    Chaeron and Bogong like this.
  13. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Team Bears say never give up you can always "cut your way"through it just takes patience and skill.

    No getting side tracked!:whistle:
     
  14. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    hongomania likes this.
  15. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Is anybody really serious about this folly of a walk?
     
  16. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    The powers that be have started making noises about this farce of a development. They are not going to forget about it or drop it. Meanwhile check the hut log books this summer to ascertain how many people are walking the present FHAC route. Not enough to justify the FHAC redevelopment .
     
  17. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    The momentum is strong with this one.
     
  18. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hopefully they are not turning Diamintina Horse Yards into a circus ?
     
  19. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    NO, The idea was ( in the Master draft of the FHAC glossy booklet ) to turn the old accommodation used by the former lease holder /Miner Ken Harris into glamping units with the old helipad being reborn for choppers bringing in gourmet food and wine and slaves to peel grapes etc. being used to bring that stuff in by helicopter.
     
    #569 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Nov 20, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020