By GUY WILLIAMS
A project to put five huts in the mountains between Coronet Peak and Treble Cone skifields has emerged from Covid-19 hibernation.
Mountain Turk Club founder Erik Bradshaw says the final touches to the four-bunk ‘Turk huts’ – built using plastic water tanks as a shell – will be made over the next couple of weekends.
By then he’s hoping the final regulatory hurdle, a recreation permit from Land Information New Zealand, will have arrived.
Then the huts’ foundation frames, toilets and decks can be flown to each site and installed by a team of hardy volunteers.
The club, formed in February, has received more than $100,000 in donations from members to help realise the project.
They began building the huts in an Arthurs Point yard in a series of working bees that began in early March.
They’ll provide shelter for ski-tourers – and summertime trampers – on the 45km Mahu Whenua Traverse.
Bradshaw initially planned to have all the huts flown to their sites on Anzac weekend, but the Covid-19 pandemic’s Level 4 and 3 restrictions put the mockers on that, and he’s now targeting the end of next month.
By then, he and his team will probably have to dig down through snow to the foundation frames so the Turks can be lowered into place by helicopter.
But after weeks of frustration, he’s glad things are rolling again.
“There’s been so much uncertainty about when [Covid-19 restrictions] were going to end, so we couldn’t plan anything.”
He’s designed the huts as well as their separate toilets.
On Wednesday, he and a team of helpers removed an older Turk from Mt Sale, above Arrowtown.
That’s in readiness for replacing it with one of the new improved versions.