Sanctuary's costs doubted

Last updated 13:00 19/02/2014

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Questions around the real cost of building the Brook Wairamarama Sanctuary fence and its location near the Dun Mountain walkway were raised by petitioners to Tasman District Council's full council meeting.

Richmond resident Mike Rodwell expressed his concern that a section of the sanctuary's pest proof fence would run 50 metres below the historic walkway on land that sloped more than 50 degrees in some places.

Malcolm Saunders asked the sanctuary's trust to come clean on the total actual construction cost of the fence, the sanctuary's running costs and its projected income, warning that the project had become a costly engineering project and, once finished, its income might not meet required maintenance costs.

Brook Waimarama Sanctuary general manager Hudson Dodd said he appreciated the concerns from the community but both the fence and the trust's finances had undergone protracted open scrutiny.

The fence's route had been chosen so it did not impact on the walkway, had been scrutinised thoroughly during its resource consent process, was logistically do-able and would be built to modern standards.

In relation to the trust's finances, Mr Dodd said the trust had every confidence in its future viability. Three business case studies, one by the trust, one by independent analysts and a third by Nelson City Council, had all shown it was financially sustainable.

Mr Dodd said the trust looked to Wellington's Karori sanctuary, Zealandia, as a conservation success story. But they had also learned from its mistakes and would not be building a multi-million dollar entrance building and would not start building the pest proof fence until all the money was raised."We are doing it the old-fashioned way and working within our means," he said.

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- The Nelson Mail

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