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Council to vote on Zoo development plan funding

Media Release
12 October 2005

Council to vote on Zoo development plan funding

Wellington Zoo Trust will present to Wellington City Councillors tomorrow on the capital development options for the Zoo, Zoo Trust Chairperson Neale Pitches announced today.

At the Strategy and Policy Committee (SPC) meeting at 9.15am tomorrow, Councillors will discuss a paper presented by WCC officials entitled “Wellington Zoo – Future Development Options”.

“Following the 2004 approval of the Zoo Trust’s Strategic Plan and the Trust’s first cut at a capital development plan, Council officers have outlined five options in their SPC paper. The option chosen by Councillors will go forward for full business case development prior to the 2006-07 year,” Mr Pitches said.

“The Zoo Trust must deal with a number of legacy issues related to the age and positioning of some Zoo buildings and exhibits, as well as respond to the Trust Deed provided by the Council that requires us to “develop” the Zoo and feature, among the eight Trust Objectives, education and conservation for the benefit of Wellingtonians.”

“The Trust’s view is that the best option to achieve this is a series of projects to re-develop the Zoo costing some $28.2 million over 10 years with the Council’s contribution at $19.8 million.”

“As Wellingtonians we are incredibly lucky to have the Zoo as a “window on the world” of indigenous and exotic animal and plant species and the issues that threaten them. The Zoo is part of the social landscape of Wellington, turning 100 in 2006. 170,000 visitors per year is a testament to the value placed on the Zoo by Wellingtonians. It’s the Trust’s job to make sure that animal welfare is benchmarked to international Zoo standards and that the buildings, exhibits and programmes are modernised,” Mr Pitches said.

“Ours is a modest proposal by international Zoo standards (one exhibit at Auckland Zoo, the New Zealand precinct cost $8 million) but the Trust is confident that Wellington Zoo can be modernised in this cost-effective way.”

“Council officials have recommended a modified 10-year programme costing a total of $19.9 million where the Council’s contribution is $14.9 million, with the Trust contributing $5million. Significant support has already been pledged for the hospital project,” Mr Pitches said.

“The Trust is also seeking funding from within the Council’s 2005/06 OPEX budget for the considerable detailed planning required to present a credible business case in March of 2006,” Mr Pitches said.

ENDS

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