The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust has the final go-ahead to start building its 14-kilometre pest-proof fence.
Nelson City Council has approved a 33-year lease of 711ha of the Brook Conservation Reserve to the trust.
Trust acting chairman Derek Shaw said today the project was a community-driven initiative since its birth 12 years ago.
"What started as a dream is now set to become a reality, thanks to the dedicated hard work of hundreds of volunteers, the financial support of hundreds of families and businesses, and the staunch commitment of the Nelson City and Tasman District councils to see the community's vision through," he said.
The councils will release allocated funding for the project as the trust has meet their conditions by securing its own funding, having its business plan and feasibility study signed off, and agreeing on the lease.
Nelson city mayor Rachel Reese and Tasman district mayor Richard Kempthorne said they were pleased the trust had met the conditions and congratulated those involved on their long-term commitment to see the project come into fruition.
The pest-proof fence is expected to help native flora and fauna flourish in the sanctuary, creating a haven for birds and seeing species previously lost to the area being reintroduced.
"The sanctuary will be a major visitor attraction, giving people a reason to come to Nelson and stay longer.
"The residents of Nelson will also enjoy the halo effect of native birdlife returning to their backyards," said Reese.
The trust's general manager, Hudson Dodd, said he was "quite thrilled" with the lease being agreed.
He said news was filtering down to those who had been involved in the project over the past decade and the excitement was palpable.
Fence construction is expected to start in spring and finish in March or April 2016.
The valley will still be open to the public during the construction period, with some areas closed at different times.
- The Nelson Mail
Does Nelson deserve to be classed as a city?Related story: (See story)