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Trust gives up gold rating for rebuild

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 09:40 15/05/2014

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Mistletoe Bay Eco Village and Campground is losing its Qualmark Enviro Gold award while it undergoes a major transformation.

The Mistletoe Bay Trust, which operates the eco village and camping ground in the Grove Arm of Queen Charlotte Sound, chose not to participate in the Qualmark Enviro awards this year while it rebuilds its EatFit establishment and upgrads road access.

The trust took over the management of the bay from the Conservation Department in 2004. It was first awarded a Qualmark Enviro gold business award in 2009 and had retained it ever since.

Qualmark general manager Tim Keeling said the village's 4-star plus Qualmark quality rating was reconfirmed after an onsite evaluation last month, however the trust had decided not to participate in the Enviro award rating this year.

Trust chairman Simon Heath said the operations manual would be re-written with the appointment of two new managers, who were to live onsite. The maintenance and upgrade were part of the evolution of the eco village, he said.

The work included a new home for the management team, which would complete the full plan developed by the trust in 2006. The home is to be built on land formerly housing the EatFit garden programme, which teaches the philosophy of eating well and keeping fit. The programme would operate from the top garage, which is to be converted into a classroom. A glasshouse and shadehouse would also be attached to grow vegetables and native trees from seed to continue the planting programme.

Road access from the top garage area down into the village was being improved and the the access road behind the camp ground re-aligned.

Heath said giving up the Enviro grade was necessary while the work was being done.

"The things that have earned us the [Qualmark Enviro award] aren't in place," he said. "They will be back and better than ever when we've finished. It's all part of a process to make us better."

The Trust planned to participate in the Qualmark Enviro awards next year, he said.

The village will be closed for three weeks in July and August for maintenance, to make improvements, and to check each whare, while the remainder of the work was expected to be finished by the end of the year, Heath said.

In March, the trust was named the supreme winner of the TrustPower National Community Awards for its eco-village and campground. During the past 18 months, the village had developed a classroom and community room, a science laboratory, a new camp kitchen and an ablutions block.

It also built a fleet of six new Optimist yachts to support its sailing programme.

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- The Marlborough Express

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