Aviary project to help injured birds shapes up on and off site

Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery will provide the public with opportunities to watch recovering birds being cared ...
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Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery will provide the public with opportunities to watch recovering birds being cared for before their release to the wild.

Support for a rehabilitation centre for injured birds continues to swell as foundations for the project take shape.

The $5.6 million aviary facility in Palmerston North will enable the public to watch for free as birds and other wildlife treated at Massey University's Wildbase Hospital recuperate before their return to the wild.

While the main contractors Kynoch Construction continue to clear the ground at Victoria Esplanade and install poles that will support the aviary covers, carvers, education staff and additional sponsors are at work off site.

Craig Kawana is working on totara logs for carvings that will be a part of the Wildbase Recovery aviaries.
DAVID UNWIN/STUFF

Craig Kawana is working on totara logs for carvings that will be a part of the Wildbase Recovery aviaries.

City council senior property and parks planner Aaron Phillips said there had been a lot of ground work to do since the first sod was turned in April, and donations kept on coming.

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The Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery Centre is due to open about May next year. Its location at the Esplanade is expected to mean many people will see part of the rehabilitation journey for wildlife in the city.

Programmed Property Services, a national firm with a Palmerston North presence, had committed to doing all the interior and exterior painting, worth about $100,000.

Regional manager Dave Bleackley​ said the company recognised the centre would be not just a local drawcard, but an important national facility.

"It would have been a huge donation for a branch, but we were able to convince the company this was of national significance."

Carved atua or guardians would be a key aspect of the centre, with Rangitane carvers Craig and Tipene Kawana already crafting shapes from totara logs at their studio at the Ashhurst Domain.

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Other people were working on the content of educational material that would be displayed in the centre.

Humes Pipelines had recently offered to supply all of the manholes needed for stormwater management.

Palmerston North manager Ralph Holdaway said the contribution of about $10,000 worth of materials was being made to boost the company's involvement in local community projects.

EMF Switchboards would provide new weather-proof electrical gear imported from Finland.

Sales manager Andy Whitten said the $10,000 contribution was being made because it would be such a cool facility for Palmerston North and for native wildlife.

Phillips said an important part of the new environment, the plants, would take a couple of years to become fully established.

"The important thing is that it will not be a great big naturalised environment, so the planting will be around, rather than inside many of the recovery aviaries.

"The staff will need to be able to catch the animals to look after them, without risking injuring them again, chasing them around the foliage."

Planting outside the aviaries also had to be carefully chosen to ensure it would not provide a pathway for predators.

Central Energy Trust claimed naming rights for the centre with a $2m investment, plus the pledge of an annual $25,000 for running costs.

The council was contributing $1.3m, $950,000 came from Lotteries grants, $200,000 from the Department of Conservation, and $345,000 from gaming trusts.

The centre will be owned by the city council and co-managed by Massey University's Veterinary School.

 - Stuff

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