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In a 9 January letter to Council, the Abel Tasman Gateway Trust advised that they were unable to continue to run Natureland. Rising costs and static patronage meant a projected loss of around $25,000 per month.
In response, during a lengthy public-excluded session of the Corporate Governance Committee, Nelson City Council made the difficult decision to close Natureland Zoo on 31 March 2008.
Faced with the need for a significant increase in the financial support of Natureland if it was to continue, from $130,000 determined in last year’s Annual Plan to upwards of $350,000, the Committee resolved that the Zoo would close.
As part of the Council’s decision, a Request for Proposal process is to be undertaken to allow interested parties to submit viable proposals for the future use of the site. Discussion in the meeting centred on questioning the role Council has to play in providing facilities such as Natureland.
Deputy Chair of the Community Services Committee and spokesperson for the Council in this matter, Councillor Ali Boswijk says “As part of the debate, the Committee questioned Council’s role in providing animal and nature experiences of this kind, especially when reflecting on the facilities now provided by the private sector and the Brook Sanctuary.”
Divisional Manager Community Services Susan Coleman said the Council would be working closely with the Trust. Council resolved to meet the Trust’s liabilities and to assist in staff related matters as well as the closing process, which would include finding homes for the animals.
“This is a very difficult time for the Trust and staff of Natureland. Their commitment and passion for the zoo has always been evident,” Ms Coleman says.
Yes this is very sad, no where in the region can children see real baby animals, nor can they see monkeys and otters and turtles, except in a book – the nature of things are changing – the potential for nature land to have been a well established conservation education centre for children has been missed by the inability of a short sighted but wealthy community to fund it
The tiny brook sanctuary is no substitute for what has been lost here – the brook sanctuary doesn’t even compare – shame on Ms Boswijk and her fellow councilors for even thinking that it did - and may I ask what private facilities?
Once again the white middle class conservative Nelson has failed to see what they have lost – most come here for the lifestyle that was given leverage by the unpaid labour of unemployed artists who bought both colour and creativity to a town now bereft of both - slowly driven out by the rise in house prices, both mortgage and rental – Nature land is folding because of lack of vision, lack of funding and lack of interest by its well heeled imports
Guess they can always put a boat yard there, or maybe a another pub/bar
Nelson the little town that could'nt