Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Victoria specific bushwalking discussion.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 23 May, 2018 10:15 pm

The Green Frog Wombat was/is the best thing about the whole scheme. I would travel a long way and pay some shekels to see such a creature in the wild. Perhaps PV can get Sir David Attenborough to do the voice over on an "interpretation" video that can be played at one of their weather proof information/interpretation booths. If they can't get Sir David then I can do a very good impersonation and version of his banter with the right accent.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 23 May, 2018 10:59 pm

The Green Frog Wombat may be the one that lives at altitude. You may recall the existing FHAC has a brochure that discusses the joy of walking at 2000 metres above sea level. Why let facts get in the way of a good story? Maybe we could enter the sundry PV reports into the The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction competition. If the writers win they get an all expenses paid holiday walking from Falls Creek to Mount Hotham, via Diamantina Spur, and as an afterthought, continuing on to Walhalla. Live the dream! PV are government staffers so the winners must be McGregor Coxall.

Keep writing to the opposition conservation man, Nick Wakeling
Nick.Wakeling@parliament.vic.gov.au
If he gets enough emails he will be disposed to opposing FHAC. Argue dollars, no sound basis, bad economic decision. Add a little conservation. Cite the Green Wombat Frog as an example of the abysmal quality of the reports.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Thu 24 May, 2018 7:39 am

Lophophaps wrote:Cite the Green Wombat Frog as an example of the abysmal quality of the reports.


He won't see it. It is gone from the one that will be presented. It may only be a staff member who reads it anyway and will provide a summary or briefing of key points. If they are like Trump then the summary would have to be in picture form.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 28 May, 2018 9:50 pm

I'm well aware that the senior person will see a brief summary prepared by a staffer. The Green Wombat is still good to evidence the poor presentation of the report.

I've just finished analysing the submissions, and do not want to do anything like this again. There are some duplicates and some people have sent in second submissions, so there's a small error bar on the figures. That said, just 5% of submissions are for the FHAC, with mostly superficial responses that gloss over the issues. The against submissions have several themes, many of which have been reported here. A number of people have done as I did - systematically destroyed the credibility of the DMP and the entire idea of FHAC.

Not only is FHAC rejected, the submissions show that the DMP is of a very low standard, a point made dozens of times. There was one on page 253
On page 6 in the reference to von Mueller's visit in 1854 it is said that "…the commonwealth government also contributed to…", but the Commonwealth did not come into being until almost 50 years later. And there also are various typographical and grammatical problems in the text.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Tue 29 May, 2018 5:06 am

Lophophaps wrote:. reference to von Mueller's visit in 1854 it is said that "…the commonwealth government also contributed to…", but the Commonwealth did not come into being until almost 50 years later.


Perhaps the person who wrote this now works for Sarah Hanson-Young. (ref - Cook arrival on 26 Jan)
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby raider » Thu 31 May, 2018 6:49 pm

I don't know whether it has any relevance to anything here but it has been reported in the local paper that funding of $9598 has been allocated for Falls Creek Trail signage.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 31 May, 2018 8:32 pm

This appears to be resort funding, not PV. FHAC has not been approved, so the funding is probably routine. I suspect that it's also PR, to show that Falls Creek management is active. Most of the bushwalking tracks have reasonable signs. FHAC had excessive costs for signs, so $9500 is just a pittance.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Fri 01 Jun, 2018 5:19 am

Could be resort or PV but suspect the latter unless it is to do with the MTB trails within the resort boundary. I have had conversations with PV quite recently (and as long as a year or more ago) about some signage issues in places were the nuff nuffs are now heading. There is, and will continue to be, a general signage upgrade in the park and PV are identifying the key places where traffic is getting higher. Input from people on this forum has been past on to PV.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby raider » Fri 01 Jun, 2018 8:19 am

Lophophaps wrote:This appears to be resort funding, not PV. FHAC has not been approved, so the funding is probably routine. I suspect that it's also PR, to show that Falls Creek management is active. Most of the bushwalking tracks have reasonable signs. FHAC had excessive costs for signs, so $9500 is just a pittance.


Unless ,of course, they say " KEEP OUT - PAYING CUSTOMERS ONLY ". :shock:
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 01 Jun, 2018 8:57 am

Xplora wrote:Could be resort or PV but suspect the latter unless it is to do with the MTB trails within the resort boundary. I have had conversations with PV quite recently (and as long as a year or more ago) about some signage issues in places were the nuff nuffs are now heading. There is, and will continue to be, a general signage upgrade in the park and PV are identifying the key places where traffic is getting higher. Input from people on this forum has been past on to PV.


There's relatively new signs at Heathy Spur, Watchbed Creek, The Park, Wallaces car park and Hut, Cope car park, and other places. It seems that PV is upgrading the major tourist points, and some that bumblies might visit. Near the main pole line the Kellys turnoff has three signs, two of which in my view are not needed. Problem is that making it too easy entices more bumblies, which is what quite a few people said about the FHAC Draft Management Plan.

raider wrote:Unless ,of course, they say " KEEP OUT - PAYING CUSTOMERS ONLY ". :shock:


Please don't give them ideas.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Sat 02 Jun, 2018 6:29 am

Some of the new signs are for winter access also. People are wandering about and further out without a clue already. A sign may encourage but it also may assist. Some of the signs already in place are very small and low. Great for summer but not in winter when covered in snow. Less of a problem in winter possibly but the Area Chief Ranger has himself come across someone walking the wrong way in winter. PV have an obligation to assess and manage risks and clearly promotion of the FHAC will mean more people will experience the area, even if it is just for the day. Some people feel more comfortable walking in the bush with track markers and signs, particularly in an Alpine environment. I have personally come across people who could not find their way back to Falls Creek from Fitzgeralds Hut. They kept going in circles and ended up back at Fitz's. Someone else on this forum (I think) reported people walking east from Kelly's Hut in the snow thinking they were headed back to Falls. I would expect this sort of thing to go on regardless of signs but it is a matter of risk management. If the risk has been identified and PV do nothing then the coroner may not be very happy with them.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 03 Jun, 2018 9:28 am

I know somebody, personally , on a mtn. Bike who went down to Shannonvale from Kelly's hut thinking he was heading back to the Aquaduct!.
From my experience doing overnight snow trips on the BHP in white season , many of the signs are totally buried in snow and knowing the lay of the land is a big help esp. in horse poo conditions.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 03 Jun, 2018 4:43 pm

Somewhere in the morass of PV information there's advice that trad bushwalker numbers will drop by 50% or so. I cannot locate this reference. Can someone please advise me where it is located? Thank you.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 03 Jun, 2018 8:04 pm

In my submission I pointed out that rusted on BHP trekkers and back country skiers will return to the area ad nauseum without fail year in , year out until they are too old to do it anymore. We spend our money in the area before and after our excursions into the BHP area. In My case I also bring new people up there. By shutting us out or banking on us to just pack it in and never return is a very poor and reprehensible way to plan for the future of the region in general.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Mon 04 Jun, 2018 6:56 am

Lophophaps wrote:Somewhere in the morass of PV information there's advice that trad bushwalker numbers will drop by 50% or so. I cannot locate this reference. Can someone please advise me where it is located? Thank you.

It is in the draft plan which I have on my old laptop that keeps crashing but you could word search 'adventure seeker' as that was the term they liked to use to describe us. I don't think it was in the current plan in fact Page 90 of the current plan has changed the view to one of an increasing number of adventure seekers.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 04 Jun, 2018 9:42 am

Xplora, thanks. I found the reference in the DMP, page 87:
"it can be expected that around 50% of the adventure seeker market will be lost as these walkers seek more remote and physically challenging experiences."

This has changed in the final Plan Part C page 90:
"The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing will continue to cater for day-trippers and adventure seekers who prefer bush camping, and this market will likely increase in parallel with tourist visitation growth."
I suspect that PV saw a big backlash against trad walkers being intentionally "lost" (a lovely word in the context!) and softened it to the form of words on page 90 cited above. Note the word "likely". This is an escape word in case trad numbers drop. Not also the reference is for FHAC walkers. Does the likely increase include those walking parts of FHAC while not doing all of FHAC? For instance, a party may camp at Cope Hut or Tawonga Huts while going to Mount Cope and Fainters respectively. This could be a point to pursue.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Tue 05 Jun, 2018 6:19 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I know somebody, personally , on a mtn. Bike who went down to Shannonvale from Kelly's hut thinking he was heading back to the Aquaduct!.
From my experience doing overnight snow trips on the BHP in white season , many of the signs are totally buried in snow and knowing the lay of the land is a big help esp. in horse poo conditions.


Was the Shannovale sign buried in snow at the time this rider came through? I can understand how this sign would be missed though as you are coming down a hill quick on a bike. It is being addressed.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 05 Jun, 2018 7:56 pm

No , I was referring to a friend who was cycling up near Kelly's hut in summer. I don't think he has much BC snow experience of any sort. He is a bushwalker and a mountain biker.
If one were to come in on foot from Shannonvale for a white season trip with snow camping gear and skis strapped to the pack, then would finding the route to Kelly's hut from the management route gate be tricky? I have not walked that route . I may not find time to do it this white season as a BC XC ski trip. I will scout it out for sure in January 2019.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Wed 06 Jun, 2018 6:44 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:No , I was referring to a friend who was cycling up near Kelly's hut in summer.

Yes I know. Just joking. There is a sign at an obvious track junction but clearly he was going too fast to see it. There would have been many other indications along the next 5km that he was going the wrong way had he paid attention.
paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I don't think he has much BC snow experience of any sort. He is a bushwalker and a mountain biker.

Hope he bushwalks better.
paidal_chalne_vala wrote:If one were to come in on foot from Shannonvale for a white season trip with snow camping gear and skis strapped to the pack, then would finding the route to Kelly's hut from the management route gate be tricky? I have not walked that route . I may not find time to do it this white season as a BC XC ski trip. I will scout it out for sure in January 2019.

You should get up a long way before the snow is thick enough to hide the track (road) but it did last year. How tricky it would be is up to your skill. If the Shannonvale sign is completely covered then you may not see the track and there are no markings. Trees may also be down making the track cutting less visible and the snow was so deep last year the overhanging branches, which normally you can drive under, would catch your skis on your pack. Generally, with good snow cover, I do not worry as much about following a track as there are easier lines to take over snow.

Walking or skiing in to Fitz's hut is still easier from Falls Creek. You may save parking fees but you still have a long, windy drive and nearly 11km up hill to walk. It is about an 800m ascent and I know people (very experienced) who took 5 hours from the top gate once, some years ago.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 06 Jun, 2018 3:43 pm

Thanks EXPLORA. I will scout it out next January. I can get my RAV 4 up to the gate I think, in dry summer conditions. I will then walk it as a possible day trip up to Kelly's hut . I don't like Ski resorts. I don't like the fees or the crowds.
Anyway I should be fit enough to ski out to Fitzgerald's hut and back from Windy corner in a day . By very early September there should be enough snow and daylight to ski in and out in one day.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Wed 06 Jun, 2018 4:57 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Thanks XPLORA. I will scout it out next January. I can get my RAV 4 up to the gate I think, in dry summer conditions.

Very little point in doing that as there is no place to park near the gate or turn around. Just park the car in a safe spot and walk to (then past) the gate. It is not far to the gate. As soon as the track narrows you would have to find a spot to turn around.
Back to the thread.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 07 Jun, 2018 10:49 am

One person didn't make a submission as it was seen as being futile, from someone that does not count, has no connection to lobbying groups. This person felt powerless, and said that his submission would be ignored.

This is the entire point for the way things have turned out.

When I wrote my submission there seemed to be two options. The first was that concerns would be acted on. The second is that they would be ignored.

There's maybe 100 or so detailed published submissions against FHAC that were nearly fully ignored, including mine. There's another 80 or so shorter published submissions against FHAC that were nearly fully ignored. The numbers show that just 5% of published submission opposed FHAC. PV has to explain why the vast majority of submission were ignored, and how they can say that
"Overall there was a positive response to the plan and its potential positive impact to the region."

This is the power we have.

Words on a page or screen have enormous power, and should never be underestimated.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Edmund Burke.
While PV and the FHAC are not at all evil the reasoning holds. There's a lot of words on screens opposing FHAC, wailing and gnashing of teeth. I hope that this translates into actions.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 07 Jun, 2018 6:57 pm

PV ignored my submission. It was /is nearly 7,000 words long. This whole caper is a white wash.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 07 Jun, 2018 7:12 pm

The fact that PV ignored the evidence is a weak spot that can be used. I'm doing this now, applying a lot of pressure to PV. The 440 or so pages that was ignored is a major opening. I refuse to give up. I refuse to slow down. The Land Conservation Council was flooded with Alpine Area submissions, which led to the parks we have today. We won at Mount Stirling overcoming great odds. The ANP was created due to conservation interests. We attended election meetings and kept asking the same questions over and over, wearing the government down. It can be done. These places have been in my life for 45 years, and I am not about to abandon them. They mean too much to me. I'm not alone with this love of the mountains.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby JulianS » Sun 16 Feb, 2020 9:42 pm

Sooo... what ever happened with this? Or is happening?
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 16 Feb, 2020 9:51 pm

PV have no money. The State Govt. simply does not fund Parks Vic. properly. The State Govt. of VIC has been spending a lot on Melb. based tunnels and freeways etc. I think they are almost out of funds.
I have not heard much about this FHAC scheme lately. I went and camped at High Knob in December 2019 so I could enjoy the campsite without the proposed Heli pad and glamper huts.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 17 Feb, 2020 6:23 am

In my submission of January 2017 I said
"5.4 Climate change means that the risk of bushfires is increasing. In the hotter months all of the FHAC is a potential fire risk. It's important that there be provision for this, perhaps part of the regional strategic fire management strategies, municipal fire management plans, and alpine resorts' plans ...

"5.5 As it will be impossible to evacuate hundreds of people in a timely manner or at all, fire shelters will need to be built. These should be at the nodes and at intervals on the FHAC. They must be underground, easy to find close up, hard to spot from a distance, with water and a toilet. Entrances must be such that snow doesn't get inside. It seems that these shelters will cost in the vicinity of $6 million, which needs to be added to the costs in the (Draft Management Plan)."

Devastating bushfires have swept across the NSW, ACT and Victorian alps. Parties on the FHAC would most likely be killed if they were in the path of the fire. Based on PV figures there would be about 200 people on the FHAC. If they had booked, would they get a refund if the trip was cancelled?

I hope that this ill-advised FHAC idea sinks into an abyss under the weight of reason and potential death. Or maybe the infrastructure could be built and then a bushfire takes it all out.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 5:12 am

JulianS wrote:Sooo... what ever happened with this? Or is happening?


The walk in its current form is becoming quite popular with people who I would class as novice or not a dedicated bushwalker. The walk in the FHAC project was never really going to work and I have been told that something will happen but it may not be to the extent that was first touted, which sought to cash in on a particular type of person. When the tourist operator tells you he will not take his clients up Diamantina spur then there is no case to build accommodation on the Razorback. I also think PV have had to think long and hard about the original walk plan. A day to walk from Cope Hut to Tawonga huts carrying nothing is pretty stupid. The purpose of building accommodation at Tawonga Huts was only ever to service the winter BC touring and Falls Creek sought to cash in on that. PV intended to take over Rover lodge when its lease expired but that was stopped so it would mean building something else out there which would meet the requirements of the Bushfire Management overlay. PV (and the government) where hoping for private investment to do all this but as we have seen with the Buffalo Chalet, private money would be looking for some long term benefit and tenure. Private money also needs to see the return and there has been no real economic statement. This could be the impediment. The numbers never did add up and a number of people made that clear in submissions, myself included.

With more people doing the walk the concept may be revisited at some stage in the future. It has been over 18 months since any information has come out and that last meeting I went to was not intended to be a discussion. It was clear then that there was intention to continue but maybe the drive has been lost. To be honest, I don't think any risk factors would stop it. The only thing would be a lack of money.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 10:26 am

Xplora, do you mean that Falls Creek, Heathy, AAWT to Hotham is becoming popular? Natural increases are to be expected. Diamantina Spur has always been too steep, and no amount of switchbacks will decrease the altitude gain. Can you please advise what happened to the Rover Lodge lease?

Companies will not pay for the sort of accommodation detailed in the FHAC proposal as the return on investment would be too low and too uncertain. With a lot of national and other parks closed due to bushfires, and the risk probably increasing each year, it would be mad to build a lodge that could burn to the ground or be unavailable for too much of the year due to bushfires.

My submission went into some detail about the economic case.
6.22 For expenditure, use the figures as shown on page 31. There's a lot of leeway here as the DMP figures are very unclear. However, I can say with a high degree of probability that FHAC will run at a loss, just like the Great Ocean Walk. Over 10 years, expenditure $59 million, income $19 million, net loss $40 million. Note that this uses 2017 figures, and the total expenditure could rise over 10 years to $70-80 million, net loss $50-60 million.

This was written before the bushfires, so income will be lower. Also, expenditure will most likely be higher due to compliance with building in a bushfire area.

It may be that PV have now realised that FHAC is misguided and have quietly dropped it or put it aside to be looked at later when funds permit, which is hopefully never.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 6:14 pm

Rover Lodge is safe as far as I know. A profound and compelling case was mounted by the Scouts and I think the lease is to be renewed if not already. The walk under the original track which does not include Diamantina spur is becoming very popular. I would suggest it is very much like the six foot track in NSW. A great intro walk to the mountains and can be done in two or 2.5 days. There is some private accommodation on the Six foot track but it is also on private land. A few companies guide it as well. PV were only going to renew Buffalo Chalet lease for 5 years and if it does the same here then private money will not be interested. Security in tenure will encourage more money. So if it gives leases to people on BHP in excess of 5 years then it has to do the same for Buffalo.
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