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Buffalo Chalet to close open? / Skyways Pjt

10:44:02 AM
Today I received the following update email on this topic.
Sent By: "MBCE" On: 21 November 2011 8:30 AM

Dear Mt Buffalo Supporter


It has been some time since we last communicated with you about the status of the concept and business plans developed by MBCE and submitted to the State Government back in May. Since then, as we have advised in earlier email bulletins, the Government has been considering our plans and various reports relating thereto.

Unfortunately, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, has now advised us the Government is unable to fund our proposal for the restoration and rejuvenation of Mt Buffalo Chalet. The reason for the Government's decision is based on the costs of the project in the context of the current State budget. Our proposal was for a $33.0 million State Government contribution to a $50 million overall project.

We have now released our Chalet preservation proposals to the public - the concept and business plans (including video images of the proposal we submitted) are able to viewed on our website:( Our proposal is for a contemporary, 'Next Generation' Chalet solution that would see it through the next 100 years. Our concept and business plans have been reviewed by experts and Government bureacrats from an architectural, heritage conservation, and financial viewpoint - they are robust and have withstood this scrutiiny. The Minister has also acknowledged the quality and appropriateness of the proposals we submitted.

Clearly, the Board and shareholders of MBCE are very dissappointed with the Government's decision. We see the challenge for us as a community is to treat the Chalet as an opportunity - not a problem! We think it's a challenge that requires the Government to lead on the issue. We have advised the Minister and the Premier of our views in this respect.

We have stated to the Premier and the Minister that our core concern remains to save the Chalet and restore it as an ongoing, publicly accessible heritage guest house. Our key question to the Government is, irrespective of any future role that MBCE may or may not play in a future Chalet solution (ie under a community ownership structure as we have proposed), exactly what now are its plans to restore and reopen the Chalet after nearly 5 years of closure.

The 17 current members of MBCE held the company's 1st AGM on the 17 November 2011 in Myrtleford. At this meeting we considered our options going forward to save the Chalet. After the AGM meeting , MBCE Chairman John Brown issued a Media Release (see website) expressing our dissappointment in the Government's decision.

Where to now?
The key question we all face now is what does the Government intend to do to restore and reopen the Chalet? At present, we are still unclear of its intent and have sought clarification.

For the time being at least, we want to have a dialogue with the Government to find a long-term sustainable Chalet solution. That may mean exploring other funding channels and/or other variants of the model we have put forward.

In the meantime, we thank you for your interest and continued support for saving Mt Buffalo Chalet.

(If people want their own updates, they can visit the website;
and register their details).
11:51:21 AM
Of course burning money on the desalination plant and the myki ticketing system is much better.
12:01:57 PM
Noticed that they want to add a comtemporary addition to the back of the chalet which would be a shame. Is it not large enough currently to be a viable business? Or will no one use it if it's not modern?
12:52:10 PM
As I understand it the Chalet failed to attract visitors in enough numbers (partly) because of outdated accommodation. Some of the factors include lack of en-suite bathrooms i.e. a number of rooms had shared bathroom facilities which are perhaps prevalent in other countries or areas but were out of place in an upmarket and relatively remote facility like the Chalet.

The proposals for redevelopment were thwarted due to heritage considerations, leaving the previous owners stymied.

1:54:52 PM
If someone thinks the hydro majestic is worth throwing wads of millions at and emirates saw fit to build a resort in the wolgan valley then i wouldn't give up on the chalet as presumably there is a market for this sort of thing. It'll just take the right person to lubricate the wheels of progress. I wonder what it takes to get helicopter access approved...
9:37:40 PM
Big difference is the Hydro is 1.5hrs drive from the largest population base in Australia & coincidentally has an airport with the most international flights.
Depending how you look at it, Buffalo is either 1.5hrs from nowhere, or 5hrs from a much smaller population base, & a smaller airport.

Isn't the Emirates resort on freehold? You can only really compare that if the entire Buffalo plateau was up for sale, which we don't think was in the tourist brochure...

11:10:46 PM
Emirates is on leased NPWS land I think.
9:18:48 AM
Most of Emirates is on freehold.

They did a land swap of some sorts with NPWS - parks got some land of high conservation value, Emirates got some degraded farmland. Win-win.

9:59:46 AM
Local ABC radio delved into the issue/s facing Mt Buffalo Chalet this morning, and interviewed local Member of Parliament Bill Sykes, as well as a spokesperson (Bob Atkins?) for MBCE.

The points I picked up on within a rambling style of airing, were;

It seems to be a quibble over the $ involved.
MBCE reckoned "Our proposal was for a $33.0 million State Government contribution to a $50 million overall project.", but Govt reckons the $30 million is more like 50 (ie total cost of project more like $80 million...).

Govt already feels they have put out $ as an enticement to investor/leasees..., however the Burbank Leasee relinquished their lease in 2009 with 12 years remaining on it, due Govt wouldn't extend their lease by 21 years(?), to cover the investment required to make it viable for them.
Govt legislated in 1988 to allow for leasing of it, leasing starting in 1992 until it closed in 2006.

At a suggestion of a longer lease required, it seems idealogically if a lease of 99 years is given out, Govt feels as if they are giving it away?

PV spent $15,000 on 'band-aid' repairs to the roof of the Chalet, but $100,000 to consultants for a couple of viability(?) reports (engineering / geotech type stuff), associated with Burbank's proposal. They did not release the reports to Burbank, and this by default means that Govt has known all along what has been required to get it up and running.

Govt set aside $6 million to progress the issue, and not even the interest off that money (close to $1 million apparently), has been spent on the Chalet or associated tasks. When pressed, Govt admitted that the interest $ had been spent elsewhere in the State.

PV has failed to upkeep the place appropriately in the interim, even though it is their responsibility due being on Crown Land.

Burbank is not likely to reappear as an investor.
Among other things, they allegedly were unhappy that controlled burns during their peak visitor period crueled the available $ they expected to make.

The current condition of the Chalet is such that it will take a minimum of 12 months, but probably more like 24 months, in repairs/refurbishment till it can be occupied by a leased tenant again.

The longer the current situation drags on, the more the refurbishment will cost, and the longer it will take to do it.

1:20:35 PM
Link to article in today's Age. Chalet remains closed...

10:50:28 PM
...... now we don't want to jump to conclusions now do we?

11:01:12 PM
On 16/02/2012 MisterGribble wrote:
>...... now we don't want to jump to conclusions now do we?

I heard on the radio today that Vic Gov was injecting further funds into a 'study' of the Chalet and associated facilities.
The radio report was a bit garbled, but I gathered that it was aimed more at keeping the day use aspect of the Chalet open, and looking into accomodation aspects as another matter for consideration further down the track...

They have promised such funds before?
9:45:17 AM

10:15:25 AM
With all the studies they've done they could've just fixed the place up by now...
Access T CliffCare
10:38:14 AM
On 17/02/2012 ajfclark wrote:
>With all the studies they've done they could've just fixed the place up
>by now...

Ah yes....a familiar story
11:02:37 AM
Once the study is done they can have an inquiry on whether the study was performed correctly
One Day Hero
12:04:25 PM
They should just bulldoze the thing so that it stops soaking up public money. Its never going to see enough use to justify throwing a hundred million worth of repairs at it.

Eduardo Slabofvic
1:17:49 PM
On 17/02/2012 gfdonc wrote:

I'll do the study for half that
1:27:03 PM
On 17/02/2012 Eduardo Slabofvic. wrote:
>On 17/02/2012 gfdonc wrote:
>I'll do the study for half that
I think you're selling yourself short. You wouldn't want people to think that they could underpay a consultant for pointing out the bleedingly obvious.
2:47:02 PM
On 17/02/2012 One Day Hero wrote:
>They should just bulldoze the thing so that it stops soaking up public
>money. Its never going to see enough use to justify throwing a hundred
>million worth of repairs at it.

They should just bulldoze you over the lookout, and reinstate its historical value as a jumping off point.

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