EN­JOY­ING GOOD SNOW:

Mt Buller News - - FRONT PAGE -

Skiers Mar­cus Brunnhofer (blue jacket) and Den­nis Kanei­der (red jacket), take to the runs on Mt Buller en­joy­ing ex­cel­lent ski­ing con­di­tions.

MB (Mark Ben­netts): I was hop­ing for a stan­dard three year con­tract. But given the govern­ment’s alpine re­view, my con­tract is for one year with a one year op­tion. So I need to make sure I do a good job. Hope­fully ei­ther the Buller and Stir­ling board will then reap­point me if there are no gov­er­nance changes, or there’ll be a role for me in any new struc­ture that the govern­ment an­nounces.

It’s been nearly two months since you started. How are you find­ing the role?

MB: Time has just flown. I’ve met and talked with so many peo­ple, who’ve all been very gen­er­ous with their time. They’ve helped me learn about the moun­tains, cur­rent is­sues, and their views on what could be done to make things bet­ter.

BN: So what have you been hear­ing?

MB: Ac­tu­ally, it’s quite a mix­ture. Some things are im­me­di­ate and easy, while oth­ers are longer-term and much harder.

BN: What are some of the im­me­di­ate is­sues?

MB: Safety was high on the list. The heaters un­der the foot­path out­side the su­per­mar­ket are bro­ken, so we’re now reg­u­larly clear­ing that area.

The huge de­mand for snow­play is cre­at­ing con­ges­tion on the to­bog­gan slopes, so we’re ros­ter­ing more mar­shals.

We’re also work­ing with Guest Ser­vices and Ski Pa­trol to try to stop peo­ple to­bog­gan­ing in un­safe ar­eas.

Vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence is an­other is­sue. Many first-timers don’t speak flu­ent English, and nav­i­gat­ing around the moun­tain can be hard.

So we’ve colour-coded and num­bered the carparks to help peo­ple re­mem­ber where they’ve parked.

Sox, Jimmy Hughes, John Perks, Steve Mar­shall, Lau­rie Blampied, Mal Rowsell and I have iden­ti­fied ways to squeeze in more cars and re­duce the chance of hav­ing to turn away day trip­pers on busy Satur­days.

And we’re tak­ing a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to man­ag­ing de­par­tures at the end of the day, MB: Snow­mak­ing wa­ter is key.

But the new dam won’t progress without a plan­ning per­mit.

Two board mem­bers, Andy Evans and Michelle Croughan, are work­ing hard to ad­dress govern­ment ques­tions so that a per­mit will hope­fully be is­sued.

In the mean­time Tom Gibbs is look­ing at whether we can eke any more wa­ter out of the cur­rent sys­tem.

There’s also broad agree­ment about im­prov­ing

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