Mt Buffalo Chalet - What's the current status?

snowplough

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Dec 2, 2008
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Anyone know what's going on at Mt Buffalo?
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I've heard on one grapevine that the Chalet might open, but from several others that it's all closed up.

Has the Chalet reopened? Is it ever going to be opened again?

Thinking of making a day trip up over Xmas with the tribe.
 
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Bogong

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Buffalo Chalet is permanently closed and slowly going derelict.

It was pretty basic before it shut and it would cost tens of millions to bring it up to the standard people expect these days. But the state government (who own it) will only give a short term lease. However without a very long lease or perhaps selling the building outright, there is no chance of anyone taking up the challenge, because it would take decades for the money spent on renovations to be repaid and for the place to start generating a profit.

While there is a "caretaker" in residence, no real maintenance is being done and the place is slowly falling to bits. One day a big blizzard will come and knock over a wobbly section. Then the whole place will have to be demolished.

A sad end for Australia's oldest (and biggest) ski lodge.
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mr

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I find this bizarre that a long lease isnt negotiated, in a time when the state government gets private funding to build its buildings and infrastructure and then lease it back on 25 year terms. Sad indeed
 

Charlie

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I clicked on your link, and then the link in that link, and then the link in that link, and then......I feel like the "Man who never returned"
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snowplough

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Dec 2, 2008
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Hey folks, thanks for the heads up on Buffalo.

I agree it is a crying shame that the Chalet is locked up and sitting idle. Such a wonderful place with a great feel about it, especially in winter
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Like all I too cannot understand what the boffins at East Melb are trying to achieve with these lease conditions, but it is certainly doing a great disservice to what is a really unique and spectacular mountain.

Based on this news it looks like I'll take the tribe upto Hotham or Falls for the day instead.

Once again thanks for the heads up and who knows with a bit of luck the comments made by all here might be noticed by Parky and his/her crew during the ANP planning review.

We can only hope.
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Ziggy

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The chalet is a bit far from the ski field to be called a ski lodge, and now with the ski lifts and tows dead there is no downhill resort so no point in staying in the Chalet and driving to the runs.

Not that the resort was anything more than a marginal financial proposition before then anyway.

Still leaves some fine XC skiing in the area.

Why not raze all the buildings and go for 'the wilderness experience', lol.
 

Bogong

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The state government has announced that they will seek tenders for the operation of the chalet. But I hear that it has declined even more from the sorry state it was in 2½ years ago when the lessees gave up on it.

So the bureaucratic wheels have moved veeeerrrrry slowly. I'd be amazed if anyone even considered taking the Chalet on... but we can always dream that someone with more money than sense might try.
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*Grits teeth and decides not to react to Ziggy's fishing expedition. Decides not to counter with his idea that a casino license may be the only way to find an investor prepared to save this wonderful building from collapse or demolition.*
 
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Ziggy

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heheh, Crown might take it on for another 50 tables at Southbank. There could be bets on the number of snapped ACLs at Cresta and cars off the road.
 

nezumi

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Is there any prospect of getting the Chalet heritage listed to compel the state govt to maintain it?
 

mr

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i thought it would have been already nezumi....listing is a double-edged sword, can make it harder to operate a place with an old layout....heritage listing can doom places to be ruins as they cannot be commercially viable and maintenance is expensive

noticed it was in yesterday's paper the intention to re-lease
 

andyR

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Yes the Mount Buffalo Chalet IS listed on the Register of the National Estate on the Australian Heritage Database.

The link to its listing is here

So yes I agree this could be a double edged sword
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Ziggy

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Wow.

The +1 and I had a magic romantic w/end there years ago. Sitting on the verandah sipping fizz and watching night fall kind of thing. It's a great spot. But the rooms were tatty to say the least. I know they were doing some reno's then and did more later.

I wonder what the State Govt was insisting on by way of lease conditions in the last round of negotiations.
 

climberman

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andyR - the RNE has no statutory force. It's like the National Trust listings - nice and all that, but without any punch.

It'd need to have another listing to really give it any other oomph.
 

nisstrust

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May 21, 2008
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Did anyone read the article in Issue 15 of The Ski Mag, "The garden of gods"? Great double spread image of Tom Costa dropping in on Cresta Valley at Mt Buffalo.
The place would definately be great on a powder day as you'd have the place all to yourself.
 

Ziggy

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True.

It can be a great place in winter. I've fond memories of that good season a couple of years or so ago, when you got to the top on the long chair and had to draw your knees up to the chin to clear the snow on the unloading platform.

And it was a nice combo to do XC on the trails in the morning and half a day on the lifts in the pm.

Small and friendly. The kids loved it and the resort was small enough to keep an eye on them while having a coffee at the cafe.
 

nisstrust

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yeah i have fond memories of it too.. its a real shame its fallen by the way side.
 

mr

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Tender for the Chalet & Cresta lease was in the weekends Age. it said 'long ternm lease'. Might have to download the docs for a sticky.
 

snowgum

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...Extreme ineptitude in terms of management and disregard for pubic opinion and the greater public good.

And proof that not all public assets are suited to the PPP model.

Of course similar criticism could apply to the inaction in rebuilding Tatra Inn and related services.
 

Bogong

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The local tourist assoc has dreamt up a gondola project for Buffalo.

It doesn't say who will pay for it and I doubt it will fly
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, but I'm happy to join them in their wishful thinking!
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Scenic 'skyway' on the cards for Mount Buffalo
DARREN GRAY, RURAL AFFAIRS REPORTER
The Age. p. 5. 12 November, 2009

A SPECTACULAR gondola system carrying tourists up Mount Buffalo will be built if an ambitious proposal being investigated by the local tourism board gets the go-ahead.

The Great Alpine Valleys Tourism Board is considering the project in a bid to find an ''iconic tourism project'' for the region that could lift its national and international profile.

The president of a major American builder of gondola systems assessed the site last month, investigating five potential routes.

Rick Spear from the company Leitner-Poma - which built the Cairns Skyrail - told the board it would cost $20 million to $30 million to build and could attract up to 600,000 users a year.

A representative from an Austrian gondola construction company, Doppelmayr, will also visit this month to provide an assessment.

The tourism board will deliver a detailed report on the project's feasibility and viability to the local Alpine Shire by the end of next June.

At a meeting last week the council gave in-principle support to the board's research, and two councillors - including Mayor Nino Mautone - were appointed to a taskforce investigating the project.

Tourism board chairman John Kroeger said: ''We see this project as having the capacity, if it can be viable and feasible, to be the biggest tourism icon for the north-east region of Victoria.''

Cr Mautone expressed strong enthusiasm for the project but stressed that it was currently only an idea. ''I love that idea and I would like to see that project developed. It would be a beautiful outcome for the area there, that's for sure,'' he said.

Mr Spear, who is in Australia this week reassessing the proposal, told The Age a gondola system could be ''fairly easily'' built on Mount Buffalo. ''It has its challenges but nothing we haven't faced before.''

The engineering division of Mr Spear's company is now doing a detailed assessment of one route to determine a more accurate cost estimate.

But as the investigation gathers speed, the project, dubbed the ''Mount Buffalo Skyways Project'', is likely to generate some opposition - particularly as some of the route would be in the Mount Buffalo National Park.

Mr Kroeger said that if the gondola were built it would be likely to travel about three or four kilometres and would need a ''ground station'' close to accessible roads.

''We do however realise that it is a huge project and we have to take it step by step to determine feasibility first and viability second,'' he said.

''The reality is that the Cairns Skyrail system took 7½ years from the original concept to the day of opening. And therefore there was immense work that had to go into it including the community consultation, environmental studies, all of the issues that people want to understand.

''We wish to face all these issues head-on so that nothing is hidden and that the entire community, including those from outside the region, are able to have a say.

''If we find that there is total negativism, then we will obviously take note of that message.''

Public meetings and other forums will take place in north-eastern Victoria over the coming months to discuss the proposed project.
http://www.theage.com.au/travel/travel-n...91111-i9yj.html
Local TV news story (75 seconds) http://albury.iprime.com.au/index.php/news/prime-news/gondola-idea-for-buffalo-video,197521
 
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Ian D

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eek.gif
- there was two iconics in there - surely that will threaten some of the iconic status of parts of Falls Creek or do they remain iconically Falls Creek?
 
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Luken

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I reckon Buffalo is just too far away from major popluation centres to make the gondola feasible. It would cost a fortune to build, and really the views you get from just driving up the road and from the top are good already, don't see a gondola offering much that you can't already get for free.
 

Bogong

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The road is pretty good. I think it was the first ski resort road to be fully sealed.
That is probably because it is/was a toll road, even in summer, so they had plenty of money to spend on it.

Now that everything at Buffalo has been abandoned, there is much less traffic these days. I doubt staffing the toll booth would even cover labour costs, so while I haven't been there for a few years, I'd guess that it's probably free.
 

currawong

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I've heard that there will be a centenary celebration at the chalet in a few months. fingers crossed that some pollie is saving up something positive to announce for the occasion.
 

Cuppa

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Aug 8, 2000
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Border Mail

EXPERTS have given the Mount Buffalo skyway the technical “thumbs- up†as support for the $30 million project continues to grow, says the chairwoman of the project’s taskforce Sabine Helsper.

US-based chairlift designers investigated the technical feasibility of the gondola late last year.

Ms Helsper said the resulting report backed the project.

“It was a desktop study but it concluded that, from a technical point of view, the project is possible with little or no impact on the environment,†she said.

“The report says that from an ascent and descent point of view, the project is achievable.â€

Ms Helsper said the report was the catalyst to the launch of the skyways website looking for further community input.

She said the website provided an overview of what the project was trying to achieve, also asking people to complete a short survey to gauge their support for the idea in principle.

“The project was identified as one that, if supported, could provide the region with an iconic tourism development,†she said.

“So, we would like to hear from people whether or not they support the idea in principle.

“We value people’s feedback, whether they want more information or have something to tell us that may not have been raised yet.â€

Ms Helsper defended the brevity of the two-part, online survey.

“This is about getting in-principle support; at the moment we don’t have a lot of detail so we have tried to give some answers to common questions and asked people to say whether they support the idea,†she said.

“The internet gives us access to those outside the region, regular visitors from Melbourne, and the younger generation who are more comfortable with online mediums.

“We want to consult as widely as possible on this.â€

Ms Helsper said the taskforce had already spoken to four community groups about the project.

“The support from within the community and from those sessions has been overwhelmingly posiive,†she said.
 
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Bogong

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Wonderful idea, but so far it is just the fantasy of the local tourist association and maybe the local Rotary and Apex clubs will support it too.
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But then comes the inconvenient fact that while they're giving free advertising to Poma, they appear to know nothing about lift design and they definitely don't have the squillions required to build the thing.

No one is going to think about funding it unless the Chalet is open and provides halfway decent accommodation that people expect these days. (i.e. not just an oversized backpacker hostel with a few alleged "luxury" rooms, which are 3 star at best.)

I still reckon the only way to get the cash necessary to properly renovate the Chalet (and therefore save it from otherwise inevitable collapse), is to sell it along with a casino licence.
 
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Ziggy

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The view from the balcony is priceless. Sit out there with a glass of fizz or something and watch the E side of the sunset ...

Good day walks or car then walk to the Horn.

In summer watch the hang gliders drop into the void.

Yeah, the accomm is a bit tatty, least when we were there, but that's OK.

Doesn't need a gambling licence.

Does need reno, agreed.

Edit; neg'ns with prev licensee failed. At a guess they wanted long tenure at fave rates to compensate for reno costs.
 

Ian D

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Ziggy said:
Edit; neg'ns with prev licensee failed. At a guess they wanted long tenure at fave rates to compensate for reno costs.

Fancy that! They wanted something that the could build a sustainable and profitable business on rather than a short term lease to sink a whole lot of money into with no guaranteed tenure. Amazing gall of them!
 
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Yardsale

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From what I heard they were given a large grant and it was spent on bunch of crap second hand furniture and a harley for the owner. But you never know, that could have been chinese whispers.
 

Bogong

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currawong said:
I've heard that there will be a centenary celebration at the chalet in a few months. fingers crossed that some pollie is saving up something positive to announce for the occasion.
Curra's semi-local knowledge has proven to be accurate.
smile.gif


"Mount Buffalo Chalet Centenary celebrations are planned for the 8th May 2010. it will be a great day with the main areas of the Chalet open to the public and Parks Victoria are also running "Behind the Scenes" tours as well."

I'm surprised the old place is still up to crowds traipsing around it. But I'll risk falling through the floor to have a last look at the old place before it falls over due to neglect. If anyone's going up from Melbourne and wants someone to pay for their petrol, send me a message.
smile.gif
 
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currawong

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Bogong said:
currawong said:
I've heard that there will be a centenary celebration at the chalet in a few months. fingers crossed that some pollie is saving up something positive to announce for the occasion.
Curra's semi-local knowledge has proven to be accurate.
smile.gif


"Mount Buffalo Chalet Centenary celebrations are planned for the 8th May 2010. it will be a great day with the main areas of the Chalet open to the public and Parks Victoria are also running "Behind the Scenes" tours as well."

I'm surprised the old place is still up to crowds traipsing around it. But I'll risk falling through the floor to have a last look at the old place before it falls over due to neglect. If anyone's going up from Melbourne and wants someone to pay for their petrol, send me a message.
smile.gif

tried to pm you but your mail box is full
 
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