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Sanctuary fence has first major injection of cash

Birds in - stoats out: the fence at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary has its first major injection of cash.

The Canterbury Community Trust today announced support of $210,000 to be paid over three years, in the first grant specifically towards the construction of the pest-proof fence.

Dave Butler, Chair of the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust said that the Canterbury Community Trust was the first funding organisation to show a belief in the project by supporting the construction of an entrance building - the first major on site activity: ŒThe trust has now provided a significant lead again for our effort to raise the money for the key project element - the pest-proof fence. Having the support of such a significant local funder is not just a financial benefit - it is also tremendously heartening for the many volunteers who are dedicating hundreds of hours putting in trapping lines for pests, planning the details of the project and seeking further sponsorship."

Local representative of the Canterbury Community Trust, Liz Richards, agreed the grant was a significant endorsement of the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary.

"Clearly we believe in this project - we have the example of the Karori Sanctuary in Wellington to show how such a facility is not simply about conservation - it is also about the best kind of tourism, it is about education, employment and it is about strengthening the Nelson community."

Dave Butler said the Canterbury Community Trust grant was a milestone in the return of native wildlife into the lives of the people of the Nelson region.

The 14km pest-proof fence will contain over 700 hectares of the former Water Reserve at the head of the Brook Valley. Eradication of all the pests within this area of forest will create a sanctuary for the eventual re-introduction of the full range of species lost from the area, from kiwi to tuatara and kakapo. The current estimate for the cost of the fence is $3,200,000, however competition from a new contender may bring this down.

"Pest proof fences are becoming more common as we work to preserve New Zealand biodiversity," Dr Butler said. "A Hawkes Bay company has recently entered the market and is registered to build such fences. Representatives are visiting our site next month and we hope that competition will bring about some reduction in the overall cost.'

ENDS

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