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New shelter and car park to be opened this weekend

NEWS RELEASE 11 June 2008

New shelter and car park to be opened this weekend

From Sunday on, visitors making the trek to Red Rocks and the seals at Sinclair Head will be able to find out more about the South Coast by checking out the displays in the new purpose-built shelter adjacent to the car park, which is to be officially opened this weekend.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast will open the new building and upgraded entrance area this Saturday 14 June at 1.30pm and media are welcome to attend. The building will open to the public from this Sunday 15 June.

The new building has been constructed on the site of the old quarry building and incorporates parts of the old structure. Inside it has information panels, which have been funded by a Ministry of Tourism grant, about the geology of the area, flora and fauna, shipwrecks, the former quarry operations, the old baches and the planned marine reserve.

The upgraded entrance area has been landscaped with rocks, recycled timbers and locally sourced native plants and features new viewing spots, picnic areas and places where groups can gather before and after walks. It also has public toilets, which will be open seven days a week, from 7am to 6pm in winter, and slightly longer in summer. The building itself will be open seven days, 9am to 4pm in winter and 9am to 6pm during daylight saving months.

Improvements have been made to the car park. A sealed drive now runs through the centre, there is a turn-around area for buses and drains have been designed so any run-off from the car park is filtered through gravel and plants rather than running directly into the sea.

The Council's Environment Portfolio Leader, Councillor Celia Wade-Brown, says the $1.2 million upgrade provides a more fitting and attractive entrance for the popular visitor destination.

"This is the gateway to an important part of the South Coast and a major entrance to the Te Kopahou Reserve," she says. "Every year thousands of people pass through on their way to Red Rocks, the seal colony at Sinclair Head and beyond so it is great that they will now have the opportunity to learn a little more about the area and its history if they want to. It will be a great resource for locals, schools and tourists."

Cr Wade-Brown says the Council's decision to buy and close the Owhiro Bay Quarry combined with the restoration work that had happened since 2000, were together helping native plants and marine life in the area to recover.

ENDS

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