The formal process to seek expressions of interest for the running of Natureland in Tahunanui is due to start, Nelson Deputy Mayor and working party member Ali Boswijk said.
The small Tahunanui zoo's future was once more placed in doubt when the trust that runs it, Christchurch-based Orana Wildlife Trust, announced in June it was pulling out as a result of hardship suffered in the wake of the earthquakes. It was the second time in four years that Nelson City Council-owned Natureland had faced a crisis over its future.
The council said in June it would try to find another operator for the beleaguered zoo, or find an alternative use for the site, which prompted a good level of informal response, Mrs Boswijk said.
Nelson Mayor and Natureland working group member Aldo Miccio said at the time that levels of interest in taking over Natureland were beyond expectation and were a positive sign it could be saved.
Mrs Boswijk said a formal statement of proposal to go out to the public was close to being finalised.
"The interest so far has come from self-motivated people, but a statement of proposal will be advertised soon so that people can respond formally."
Mrs Boswijk said expressions of interest would be sought from Nelson and throughout the country. A formal proposal would also make it clear to those interested there were certain issues around the site, which is on a reserve and therefore options for use were limited.
The working group will make recommendations on formal proposals and report back to the council on possible future options by the end of November.
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