Invercargill Environment Centre closing after 16 years

The Invercargill Environment Centre Te Whenua Awhi will close its doors for good after 16 years.
John Hawkins/FAIRFAX NZ

The Invercargill Environment Centre Te Whenua Awhi will close its doors for good after 16 years.

 It is with a feeling of pride, and not sorrow, that Jenny Campbell is saying goodbye to the Invercargill Environment Centre.

The centre will wind down operations end of the month after its members reached a decision to close the environmental group.

Convener Jenny Campbell said it was a combination of things that led to the group deciding that it was a fitting time to go out on a positive note.

"We're not needed to the same extent anymore."

When the centre was first opened in Martin St in 2001, environmental knowledge was not common place in the community, Campbell said.

Nobody had much knowledge of recycling, composting or how to properly dispose of waste, she said.

The centre was founded because there was a need identified by Forest & Bird New Zealand for a place where people could access information, Campbell said.

During the years things slowly changed as the use of the internet as a resource grew.

After the centre moved into the SIT arcade, volunteers noticed a marked change where people started using the internet more and they had a reduced the amount of paper resources they had.

"People were hardly on the internet, there weren't websites. Now people can google and up comes the stuff they want."

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The centre was an early adaptor of environmental practices, which have now become more widespread as people become more environmentally conscience.

Many of the activities the centre undertook had now been picked up by other community groups, Campbell said.

One of their volunteers Richard McKay, who had volunteered his time as the bike doctor could no longer continue due to his health, she said.

Many people had come through the door to to see him with their bikes, Campbell said.

It was volunteers like him and others giving their time and passion which had kept the centre going on a shoe string budget, she said.

The community garden they operated with the Eastside Baptist church on Lithgow St will be taken over fully by the church.

Campbell will still continue to help out with the environment room at Kidszone and the recycling for the event.

Secretary Jessie Chalmers became involved through a permaculture group.

She started out as a volunteer in the shop and gradually became more involved until she inherited the role of secretary.

They had done themselves out of the job and they knew it was time to wind down, Chalmers said.

"A lot of the stuff we were doing is now common place in the community."

The centre will remain open until March 31 and there will be a celebration in April before they move out of the building.

The closure means that only two environment centres remain in the South Island, one in Riverton and in Nelson.









 - Stuff


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