The February Issue
Enforcement of camping rules discussed
More visitors moving off SH8 to explore remote corners of the district have not only brought with them the same, inevitable issues, but also likely increased the risk of scrub and grass fires. However, it appears it will be left to members of the public to monitor any compliance issues, at least for now. In December, Lake Ohau Station manager Tom Moore raised concerns with the Ahuriri Community Board about the issues caused by more visitors travelling up Lake Ohau Rd – which is unsealed at the top end - to explore the more remote areas of the Ohau valleys. In an interview this week, Mr Moore said he asked the board what was being done to police the council’s freedom camping regulations and the restrictions on lighting fires in the area.... >>> continue reading <<<
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Hiflo Group managing director Peter Ryder says, when he got wind Neil Smith really was serious about retirement this time, the opportunity to bring Waitaki Plumbing Services under the Hiflo umbrella was a "no-brainer”.
Last month, Neil officially handed over the keys and headed out the door - last seen heading down the highway looking for adventure on his new 2018 Triumph Bobber - and the Smith’s Otematata plumbing business became Hiflo Waitaki.
The Ryders are no strangers to the valley. Peter’s parents Ian and Helen Ryder established Hiflo in Oamaru in 1971 and in 2005 Peter and his wife, also Helen, took over the business. With the lakes at Oamaru's back door and a holiday home in Otematata the extended family have virtually grown up here. Peter and Helen’s two sons Brandon and Cameron, and their daughter’s partner Dan have continued family tradition and joined the business.
These days Hiflo offers its services throughout North Otago and South Canterbury - the Waitaki Valley and Mackenzie areas - and Hiflo has grown to be a specialist provider of domestic, commercial and industrial plumbing, drainage, gasfitting, sheetmetal, solar and heating installations, plus it holds the regional franchise for Rockgas – LPG delivery. Through the years Hiflo expertise has contributed to projects such as transportable homes for the hydro schemes and the establishment of major hotels in Omarama.
Recent development in the upper Waitaki and through the Mackenzie has seen demand for services grow, Peter says. Nowadays, Hiflo has plumbers Greg Harper stationed in Omarama, Tarris May in Otematata, and Jeff Ten Thye based in Kurow plus four staff work from the Twizel depot. “The area continues to grow, putting pressure on all services so we’ve gone with that growth, with Dan set to oversee the Waitaki area.”
It means the outlying customer base is now “nearly as big as Oamaru”, Peter says.
Neil and Debbie ‘retired’ from busy Queenstown and headed for the quiet life in Otematata five years ago. Initially, Neil assumed he’d spend a bit of his spare time “fitting a few tap washers” but five years on and the Smith’s thriving business was employing four staff.
However, last year the couple decided it was time for a rethink and fresh look at the long wish list they have for retirement. He and Debbie wish the Ryders “all the best”, and want to thank their valued customers who made the business a success.
Their staff will carry on with Peter, so people can be assured they can continue with the faces they know – “their own personal plumber”, Neil says.
“We’re really pleased to be able to continue the good work Neil has done in the area, we want to continue that relationships with customers, and look forward to being part of the community for a long, long time,” Peter says.
Peter knows there will be plenty who try to convince Neil to pick up that wrench one more time but he’s looking forward to next catching up with him on the many of the nearby golf courses.
Besides there’s no room for a tool box on the back of that bike.