Momorangi campground upgrade

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 07:31 13/01/2014
Nick Smith
Derek Flynn

Conservation Minister Nick Smith, and Kaikoura National Party candidate Stuart Smith kayaking at Momorangi Bay

Nick Smith
Derek Flynn
Co-ordinated approach: Department of Conservation partnership manager Dave Hayes, Conservation Minister Nick Smith, and Kaikoura National Party candidate Stuart Smith at Momorangi Bay
Lauren Perano
Derek Flynn
Lauren Perano, 9, and 13 year old twins, Tom Foley and Briarna Foley looking through the DOC Exhibit at Momorangi

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New showers and a swimming platform will be installed at Momorangi campground next year, along with an upgraded seawall and underground power, Conservation Minister Nick Smith says.

Dr Smith told campers and staff at the Department of Conservation campground on Friday afternoon that a total $2.2 million would be spent at the Queen Charlotte Sound campground.

"It's about making sure we look after the special places in New Zealand," he said.

Work has been completed on the $500,000 first phase, which upgraded the campsite's cafe, toilets, and water storage and treatment. There is also a new, single-lane road bridge for improved safety and access.

Dr Smith said a second phase of upgrades was planned to kick in after the busy summer season. This would cover the installation of new amenities such as showers and a swimming platform, while the camp roads would be tarsealed, the seawall upgraded and power put underground.

This work was expected to be completed by March 2015 and would cost $1.7 million.

News of a new swimming platform raised a cheer from campers.

Also at the announcement was Stuart Smith, the new National Party candidate for Kaikoura.

Dr Smith said 23,000 people visited Momorangi each year, "including a few dodgy Smiths - my relatives, not his".

The minister welcomed outdoor clothing and goods chain Kathmandu's donation of $75,000 to the Momorangi Bay Conservation Project, a three-way partnership with DOC and the Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust. The donation would be put towards enhancing the natural landscape values of the campsite and wider area, and enabling campers to enjoy conservation activities during their stay.

Dr Smith said the campground upgrade and adjacent conservation project at Momorangi Bay reflected DOC's new direction.

"We are putting a greater emphasis on recreation and ensuring New Zealanders can get out and enjoy the great outdoors at an affordable cost.

"We are also partnering with businesses like Kathmandu to better protect the native plants and animals that are unique to New Zealand and incorporating conservation advocacy into campgrounds to enhance understanding of DOC's work."

Peter and Diana Robson, who own a bach at Momorangi Bay, said the improvement in native species at the bay because of the work done by the conservation project was already noticeable.

"There are heaps of little skinks around the bach now. We hadn't seen them for ages," Mr Robson said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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