Conditions set to improve for workers

Containers are lifted into place at the Snow Farm at the beginning of winter 2023 for staff and...
Containers are lifted into place at the Snow Farm at the beginning of winter 2023 for staff and customers to use for the season. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust (Pact) is pushing on with commitments to develop a Day Lodge at the Snow Farm for winter and summer use.

Trust chairman Samuel Belk has acknowledged that Snow Farm staff and customers operated in "suboptimal conditions" from the carpark this winter, using a makeshift base ofportaloos and donated containers for the second year in a row.

The trust manages the Waiorau Recreation Reserve on the Pisa Range. It is a Queenstown Lakes District Council reserve, donated to the council by Pact, and used by a range of summer and winter recreationists.

Trust chairman Samuel Belk announced in a media release this week an application for the first phase of the Day Lodge development — a toilet block and shelter — was under way and Breens Construction would be the lead contractor.

"Pact, with steadfast support from Central Lakes Trust and Otago Community Trust, and in collaboration with Kiwibank, is excited to announce its commitment to the initial phase of constructing a cutting-edge Day Lodge.

"This facility will cater to both winter and summer enthusiasts at the Waiorau Recreation Reserve.

"While this first phase marks a humble beginning, it promises to offer enhanced shelter against inclement weather for our valued customers and significantly improve the working environment for our dedicated staff compared to the previous season.

"The trust is investing its own reserve funds to ensure the timely commencement of this project, ensuring it is ready for the upcoming season," Mr Belk said in a media release.

As of September, Pact had $870,500 in the bank.

Major trust income came from a $180,000 grant from the Otago Community Trust, a $225,000 grant from the Central Lakes Trust and $35,5000 worth of donated services.

Private donations amounted to $28,750.

Pact reserves are at $16,250, while the Snow Farm surplus from the 2023 season was $50,000.

The trust had spent $145,000 to date on the Snow Farm, and had debts (low interest loans) of $190,000.

The trust already has resource consent for the full building.

Mr Belk said the past three years had presented unprecedented challenges for Pact, its staff and customers.

The original Snow Farm Lodge was closed during Covid.

That lodge was subsequently re-allocated to other uses by its owner, the southern hemisphere Proving Ground, leaving reserve users without a base facility.

Mr Belk said Pact was grateful to its community for unwavering support despite constraints on facilities.

"Special thanks to Sam Lee and his resilient staff, who, despite suboptimal working conditions, maintained an unwavering commitment to customer service and trail grooming. Our efforts were recognised by international competitors at the Merino Muster, with the USA ladies team commending the standard of our trails," Mr Belk said.

The 2023 Merino Muster made a small surplus of $15,000 and had 280 competitors this year.

More information, including booking trails and huts, is on the Snow Farm website.