I heard back from a helpful chap at DoC's Kapiti Conservancy, who's confirmed that the hut will be replaced in the coming summer (2012/13).
It'll be in the same location but with a different footprint, and the existing hut will remain until the replacement is finished. There will be no extra heating and facilities will remain the same as the existing hut, but the replacement will be thermo-wrapped, fully insulated, and have double-glazed windows oriented to face the sun. It's based on an existing standard 20 bunk design.
There will be no direct public consultation, but local clubs and iwi will be consulted through the Tararua Aorangi Rimutaka Huts Committee. The TTC has already been consulted, although won't be part of the tendering or construction.
That nice chap from the government department has not done much research into the Hut Procurement manual that they are bound by.Although i will wager he hasnt been near the alpine area where Kime is , for some time if ever.
Local clubs that are members of the TAHC will be called on to make some pretty ballanced decisions about Kime and where it should be rebuilt.
The old Vosseler Hut was in an ideal place, but the NZ Forest Service,against the wishes of the Tararua Tramping Club , removed it.
The logical place for the new hut is on Bridge Peak ; who will front up and take responsibility in the event of another death or deaths and say that the hut could not be put on Bridge Peak ?
I sometimes wonder about where DOC get their intel from. Very few trampers I meet in huts in the Tararuas actually belong to clubs, which begs the question, why do clubs (and FMC) apparently have the high ground when it comes to decision making? How democratic is that, particularly in light of this Government's sinking lid funding policy for DOC? Would trampers such as Bennington have made a submission on the management plan that led to this Kime decision? I doubt it.
Either you call for advise at quite low effort and expenditure from a few clubs that represent say 1000 trampers and have had time to discuss the possibilities and have a proven and demonstrable level of experience.For this area that would be about 15 replies. Or you spend heaps of time and effort and cost in a public submissions process and get replies representing the same number of people but one reply for each instead so 1000 replies with no ability to judge the capabilities of the person replying.
In Wellington there are 2 types of club. We have a couple of clubs that cater for mostly younger eager trampers and the rest mostly for trampers that are also very keen but have extensive experience gained over many many years. In between are the people you describe. These people may of started in the younger people clubs but outgrown them or more likely have commitments that make club membership difficult but they still like to get out with there own family/friends. Sometime in the future there circumstances change and club membership makes sense again. This might not fit everyone but it certainly fits me and many other people I know. It is true that this in between group should not be ignored but the reality is that addressing them is unlikely add anything not already thought of to the process.
Good point about the Hut Procurement Manual. It's online at http://www.doc.govt.nz/publications/about-doc/role/legislation/hut-procurement-manual-for-backcountry-huts/ but doesn't include all the details about DoC process. Is this the document you mean, OldGoat?
The manual itself is mostly a guide to ensure Building Code compliance, although Part C (Larger Huts) section 1.2.1 states that the DOC Project Manager is responsible for public consultation. The document is very shallow about precisely what this entails. If that's the only guidance for consultation (which it probably isn't), DoC would probably argue that it's consulting the public indirectly via clubs.
Now I'm quite keen to know what input the TTC has already had, if it's already been consulted and the plan is for the hut to remain in the same location.