Trust against closure of campground

Last updated 12:00 15/03/2014

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The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust does not support the Nelson City Council's proposal to close the Brook campground, says trust chairman Dave Butler.

The Nelson City Council plans to close the camp saying it is running at a significant loss. Public consultation is to take place next month with a final decision to be made in June. Long-term residents are fighting the proposal and have started a petition against the closure.

Mr Butler said he and sanctuary general manager Hudson Dodd had met with the newly formed residents committee at the Brook Valley Holiday Park to ensure they knew that the trust does not support the Nelson City Council's proposal to close the campground.

"Last week the trust was blind-sided by the council's announcement that they were proposing to close the campground," said Mr Butler.

"On Monday our trustees discussed the issue at our board meeting. At that meeting we resolved to make a submission to the council against the camp's closure. We then set about to meet with the campground residents in person to begin discussions about a way forward."

The meeting on Thursday night had been very positive, he said.

The trust has offered the campground residents a space at its Open Day event tomorrow to collect petition signatures. Mr Butler said it would also include in its open day handbill an email address that people could use to give their views on the camp's closure.

Campground resident Alistair Corner said the trust's support was good. "They're backing us all the way."

The support was encouraging, and the campground residents would have their petition at the open day for the public to sign, he said.

The sanctuary's open day is to raise awareness and funds for its project to build a 14.4 pest-proof perimeter fence.

Mr Butler said that at the meeting the trust also clarified its position on cats in the Brook neighbourhood.

"It goes without saying that we don't want feral cats in the sanctuary. We do have concerns about reports of some large ‘hunting' cats killing weka, tui, and other native birds in the area, but the planned pest-proof fence is the best way to address the issue of feral cats. That is why our key focus in the recent past has been on fundraising and planning for the fence project."

The trust board would further discuss its position at its next meeting then would draft a submission to the council.

"During this process we will continue our open dialogue with the holiday park residents, as well as other interested parties, to ensure their viewpoints are listened to. We also hope there are some quality submissions made by the public about keeping the campground open, and that councillors carefully take on board those viewpoints."

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The sanctuary's open day will be from 11am to 4pm tomorrow, and "Bug Man" Ruud Kleinpaste will be there.

- The Nelson Mail

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