Healey Creek Hut is in a strategic location at the start of the Galena Ridge on one of the routes into Ivory Lake. Permolat had identified that the hut had slipped off some of its piles and was leaking. In mid April 2018 Tom Hayes of Christchurch got a group together to take on the work. Jane Morris, John Milne, Geoff Spearpoint, Andrew Buglass and Rhys Bowden, joined him on the first work party and over the next few days lifted the roof, replaced the building paper and barge caps, prepped the window frames for paint, while others got on with recutting the access tracks.
Over the following days they replaced some piles, finished the new roof, and installed a new tank stand. The weather for some of this was the usual West Coast affair with the team working through a mix of rain and clag.
Work commitments meant that Tom wasn’t able to get another group in there until late April 2019. Joining him this time were John Milne and Melanie Jarratt. They replaced the remainder of the piles, and painted the exterior.
On this trip the group had no problem with early morning starts, courtesy of a few cheeky Kea in the area. At times there were up to 11 Kea watching the group carry on with the hut restoration. A further two piles were replaced before a heavy mist rolled in, and the remaining work, building a picnic table, drain clearing, some leftover sections of piles painted red and placed in the final 15 minute section of track leading up to the hut, were all completed in the afternoon clag.
With the clag hanging around the following day, it remained too cold to paint, so major cleaning inside the hut was done and the broken window louvre was fixed. Rubbish was sorted and packed in preparation for being removed, and with the weather report predicting worse weather to come, the group were flown out before the weather turned.
Tom has plans to walk back up to the hut sometime over summer 2020, when the weather is looking fine, to tidy up a few remaining jobs, but in the meantime Healey Creek Hut is looking a million dollars again. Thanks for all your hard work on this Tom. All up, both work parties did approximately 410 hours onsite over the two trips, with the total cost of the project, including materials and helicopter transport, around $6,500. Thanks also to Fletcher Anderson at Andersons Helicopters in Hokitika for continuing to work out cost effective ways to get groups into some of these places to get the work done.