Turks in the time of Coronavirus

Now that we are at level 3 things can get moving again. This week should see the spray foam insulation applied to the inside of the 5 Turks at Arthurs Point. With this bottleneck task complete we are on the home straight for Turk completion!

My experience over the last week has indicated that nothing is easy to achieve at the moment. Many purchasing tasks have gone from a simple phone call to a complex arrangement that might take several weeks.

On the bright side I have a cunning plan. On the dim side I don’t think it is realistic for the Turks to be completed until mid to late-June. Trying to get them done sooner with the restrictions on materials and people gathering will result in a sub-standard product.

Now for the cunning plan. I am hoping to fly in the foundation frames, toilets and decks within the next two weeks since this would be a legitimate construction activity. The helicopter would probably just contain the pilot (because of the people restrictions). Myself and any other keen volunteers (bubbles preserved) will walk into the sites and position these elements while the ground is still un-frozen.

This plan gives us the opportunity to install the Turks at some later date of our choosing. It is not a big effort to dig down through a metre of snow in July to the foundation frame and deck and have the Turks helicoptered into place. The critical issue is having the foundation level, seated properly and in the correct orientation before the ground is frozen and covered in snow.

We have a logo

A big thank you to Ronnie Baker from Hand Painted Sign Co for this great logo. It is very pleasing seeing these features of the club come to fruition, makes it all a bit more real (especially when we have all been stuck at home not doing the real stuff!)

Office systems

The committee positions at the Mountain Turk club now have their own email addresses:

We have started using a group-ware product called “Outpost” that allows us to work collaboratively with communication. Like Xero (mentioned below) this is a paid product, but we received a good non-profit discount.

My thinking here is is two-fold. For the club to run well, the history of communication with members should not be lost when a person on the committee changes, hence personal email is not appropriate. Secondly, for the club to be successful we need to be respectful of people’s time. Committee positions are never easy to fill so we must ensure there are good tools to make the job efficient. Outpost and Xero combined cost the club about $1000 per year. This will come from Operational revenue (i.e. the nightly Turk fees) and not the capital contributions/donations for membership.

Membership and getting organised

Zane (treasurer) has battled an electronic paper war setting up bank accounts, registering with IRD (sounds frightening) and setting up Xero for accounts. In normal times this would just be a lot of papers to sign but doing it in lockdown has been quite a challenge with a lot of print-sign-scan-email activities.

With these systems in place it is anticipated we will be emailing membership letters/receipts within the next 2 weeks.

Progress with Recreation Permit

Coronavirus has also caused delays with the application for this permit. The conservation assessment that is part of this permit is delegated by LINZ to DOC. DOC has asked for and been given an extension for the conservation assessment due to some concerns, however because we are not DOC’s “customer” (LINZ is) we are not privy to their concerns. I am optimistic we are not in for a spanking, but like all these things you don’t know until you know.

This of course impacts my “cunning plan” outlined above. I’m trying to walk a fine line between the coming of winter, Coronavirus and our statutory obligations.

The Dymaxion Toilet

One of the lessons from the Crown Basin Turk is that building a decent toilet is not a simple task. Because the complexity of a building happens where walls, floor and roof join, the small size of the structure doesn’t make it simpler. Over the last couple of years I have been working on a design which I humorously named the “Dymaxion Toilet”.

My concept has gone a bit beyond what we require for the Turks since as well as simplicity I also wanted a low cost structure that could be carried into a location and was easy to assemble. Think local crags, mountain bike trails and popular walks that would benefit from a “facility”. You can see more about this in the video below.

Video showing the toilet and assembly
Stay healthy and hopefully some more ways for people to be involved soon!

Erik Bradshaw
4 May 2020

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