Conservation plan needs sponsor
A conservation-minded patron is needed to keep the idea of the Red Bridge River Park afloat, otherwise the proposal could be sunk.
That’s the message from the charitable trust’s spokesman Lewis Verduyn-Cassels.
Given a 35-day extension to raise $300,000 towards the formation of the proposed river park near Luggate, the lightness of relief was quickly followed by the heaviness of a burden.
‘‘It seems almost impossible for a small charitable trust to raise all the money by August 25. We have lots of supporters and donors who have given what they can afford, but what we really need is a patron or two interested in native restoration and freshwater ecology to help the trust over this hurdle . . ."
Verduyn-Cassels said he was surprised and initially heartened at the reprieve granted by Contact Energy, which owns the .4 hectare block the trust wants to buy. But he was still aware that the trust would have to more than double its fundraising efforts.
As a result of an initial extension, a $147,000 offer was put on the table by the July 21 deadline this week, but the trust would need to raise $153,000 more for the block, which includes a cottage and heritage features.
This second extension was offered by Contact Energy hydro project manager Neil Gillespie who was apparently "mindful of the community fundraising efforts" and recognised that the trust needed "more time to raise the required $300k," VerduynCassels said.
While it was a relief to have more time, it did not relieve the burden of having to come up with so much money in so short a time, he said. Verduyn-Cassels was also disappointed that ‘‘corporate interests are conflicting with conservation interests.’’
‘‘The trustees would like to find a solution for contact, the trust, and the community.’’
Pondering ways and means: A big task lies ahead for Lewis Verduyn-Cassels and the small Red Bridge River Park Trust to raise $300k by August 25.