Big boost for nature recovery

ADAM ROBERTS
Last updated 13:00 26/11/2012

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A half million dollar donation to Nelson's Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust is a ringing endorsement of the group's plan to create a pest-proof fence, its chairman says.

The Lotteries Grants Board today announced a grant of $500,000 to the trust, which is planning a $4.7 million, 700-hectare nature recovery project, including a 14-kilometre pest-proof fence and pest eradication programme.

Brook Sanctuary general manager Hudson Dodd said the funding was a huge boost.

"This grant is very significant for the trust in that it validates the sanctuary's national significance," he said.

"It's an important milestone toward funding for the fence project, since the trust remains committed to accomplishing the fence construction without going into debt."

Mr Dodd said the trust was committed to not borrowing to finance the project, with funding from the two councils contingent on the trust meeting its own targets.

"We're gathering momentum, we don't expect it to take nearly as long to finish the job."

Trust chairman David Butler said the grant was a significant donation that had come at just the right time to reassure local supporters and sponsors.

"The Lotteries board went through a very thorough process. It's a ringing endorsement of the plan and the business model we're trying to adopt," Dr Butler said.

He hoped the donation would be a sign to others that the trust's plan was viable and worth backing.

The reserve would be the largest in the South Island, and the second largest in New Zealand, he said.

Nelson MP Nick Smith, who supported the funding application, said the grant was the largest donation in a decade, which reinforced its national significance.

The number one environmental problem for the country was its loss of native flora and fauna, which this project aimed to restore, he said.

"The legacy of this project will be the return of many birds and reptiles to Nelson, which is so important for a community that prides itself on its natural environment."

The grant was made through the Lottery World War I Commemorations, Environment and Heritage Committee, which stated that the application aligned well with their natural heritage priorities and funding criteria.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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