In 2014 the Combined 4WD Clubs group started talks with the Department of Conservation, (DOC), in Canterbury, in regards to finding a hut that the Combined 4WD Clubs group could help maintain in partnership with DOC.
Ideally the hut would be at the end of a 4WD track and somewhere that was regularly used by the Combined 4WD Clubs member clubs. Such huts are few and far between in the Canterbury Conservancy, however, and eventually DOC suggested Scottie’s Hut in the St. James Recreation area behind Hanmer Springs.
Scottie’s Hut was a simple four bunk, corrugated iron hut with no insulation or interior cladding that served as a farm hut for St James Station for many years. The original stove had been removed by DOC some years ago to alleviate the fire risk posed by exposed dry framing timbers in the small hut, replaced by a concrete fire pit outside. An old corrugated iron woodshed butted up to the hut on the outside.
DOC stipulated that it must retain its character and basic dimensions, so the external iron must remain and the hut could not be increased in size. With those parameters in place the plan took shape in early 2015, the idea being to line the hut inside and out with Plywood, use Batts to insulate the cavity in-between, then add a layer of building paper under the original tin that would go back on as the external cladding.
The next step was to cost the materials and find a source of funding to accomplish the restoration. An application to the Outdoor Recreation Consortium was successful with funds for the materials allocated from their Huts and Tracks fund.
The funding bid was helped by Placemakers’ Riccarton who provided some very competitive rates to ensure the funding would cover all the materials that were needed. A date was then set late in 2015 for the Combined 4WD Clubs member clubs to supply skilled volunteers for a working bee to transform the hut, (without changing its rustic appearance!).