The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust applied to Council as landowner to build a pest proof fence around the Sanctuary’s perimeter, but the application review is on hold pending a more detailed assessment of route options.
In addition, at the 29 April Community Services Committee meeting, the committee:
reinforced to the Trust that any necessary consents required under the Reserves Act 1977 and Resource Management Act 1991, including any public consultation, be completed before constructing the fence;
asked the Trust to provide accurate project cost estimates and document that it has secured the necessary funding to complete the fencing project before Council makes any contribution available; and
agreed to commission an independent review of the Trust’s business plan to ensure the Sanctuary project is sustainable in the long term.
The Trust’s application includes a request to allow it to have exclusive use of the site, located on Nelson City Council administered land, so that it can control visitor access to prevent reinvasion of pest species and to generate revenue through gate entry charges.
“Councillors and staff are taking a long view with this consent application,” says Community Services Chair Pete Rainey. “We must ensure all the necessary plans and consents are in place before we commit ratepayer money and Council land, even for a project like the Sanctuary that has so much public support.”
The Trust’s application proposes over 8 hectares of mature native forest be cleared along a 10m strip, followed by the construction of a platform around the entire 14.1km boundary of the site, most of which passes through steep terrain.
Once completed, the fence will prevent casual public access to the majority of the Brook Conservation Reserve, although the Trust have indicated a commitment to enable continued access in some form for local residents either through regular open days or volunteer participation opportunities.
Council has budgeted to give the Trust $250,000 in the 2008/09 Draft Annual Plan, which is currently under public consultation. The Long-term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) has a further $750,000 to be considered in 2009/10. Since Council is potentially a major funder of the anticipated $4 million project, it is requesting these additional assurances before fully assessing the application.