Park buildings concern

Brook Valley Holiday Park residents fear that the arrival of some conservation training buildings will spell the end of their home but the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary says nothing sinister is going on.

The residents' committee contacted the Nelson Mail on Thursday after NMIT building students were seen measuring up a site inside the camp, which owner Nelson City Council is proposing to close.

"We're copping it on two fronts," said committee member Alistair Corner. "‘If this place gets back on its feet, where they're intending to put this first lot of buildings is smack bang in the middle of the prime overnight location for campers."

He said the residents had not been consulted or informed on the building plan and that nobody from the sanctuary attended a meeting they held on Sunday to discuss the future of the camp. Only councillor Kate Fulton turned up from the council. Her efforts were appreciated but further attempts to get information from council staff were "like talking to a brick wall", Corner said.

Residents believed the sanctuary had pencilled in a conference centre, a cafe and a shop to serve visitors.

But sanctuary general manager Hudson Dodd said relocating two classrooms from further down the Brook Valley into the park was approved by the council in mid-2013 and the site was the most suitable.

"Through the entire process we were very cognisant of trying to minimise impact on the camp. The trust has long since recognised the attractiveness of a campground with accommodation adjacent to the sanctuary," Dodd said.

The conservation education centre, a joint venture between the sanctuary, NMIT and the Department of Conservation, was forced to close by a landslip on its existing site three years ago.

Dodd said the intention was to have the two classrooms installed on the upper level of the camp, near the manager's house, in time for the next intake of NMIT students in June. A resource consent application had been lodged.

He said nobody from the sanctuary trust had gone to the Sunday meeting only because it wasn't confirmed until Friday afternoon, and "the timing didn't work out". "I just want to reiterate that the trust is trying our utmost to accommodate those interests while also trying to maintain this joint venture with NMIT and DOC for delivering conservation education to the community."

Mayor Rachel Reese, who last week criticised a staff report on the camp and threw the closure proposal back to the community services committee for further work, has previously said there is no link between that and shifting the buildings. She said in a letter to the Mail that councillors were not informed or invited to the residents' meeting.

The Nelson Mail