Morgan to face residents over predator-free proposal for Stewart Island

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 15/04/2014
Gareth Morgan
CAT CONTROL CAMPAIGNER: Gareth Morgan.

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Stewart Island residents can tonight grill Gareth Morgan about his dream to make the island predator free.

Morgan, a philanthropist and anti-cat campaigner, leads the Predator Free Rakiura governance group, which is holding a public meeting at the Stewart Island Community Centre at 7.30pm.

Morgan yesterday said the predator free group had completed reports on the first part of the proposed project, which would see a fence put up to make Halfmoon Bay and Oban predator free.

"We said we would go away and do a few scoping papers . . . they've been on the website [predatorfreestewartisland.org.nz] for two or three weeks so people have had a chance to have a look at them," he said.

Morgan will give a summary of the reports at the meeting tonight, and will allow questions from the public on each report.

Two of the reports explain how the predator free group plan to implement the fence project, while the third report is an economic appraisal of the entire project.

The Halfmoon Bay predator proof fence project will cost between $3.5 and $5 million.

The reports propose the 1.8 metre high fence be built between North Arm and Maori Bay, about 7.5 kilometres. The fence would protect 4800 hectares of land, including the Oban township, from predator invasion from the rest of Stewart Island.

It would be built on Department of Conservation land, making the consent process simpler, the reports say.

Building costs for the proposed fence are about $2.14 million, and annual maintenance of the fence is predicted to be about $108,000, the reports say.

To make the entire island predator free will cost up to $55m, the three reports say.

Morgan said the next step was to look into the feasibility of the project and begin a biosecurity report. The group must also look at how to eradicate predators within the area they are hoping to protect, without harming pets.

Tonight he will introduce the predator free group, which includes representatives from Southland District Council, Environment Southland, local iwi, and other stakeholders.

"They are there as conduits between us (the predator free group) and the people they represent . . . it's time for people to engage with people," Morgan said.

 

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