Coun­cil seek­ing church fund­ing

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - DAISY HUD­SON

In­creas­ing pres­sure from tourists on in­fra­struc­ture at Tekapo’s Church of the Good Shep­herd has led to a pitch for nearly $300,000 in gov­ern­ment fund­ing to help tackle the is­sue.

The Macken­zie Dis­trict Coun­cil is hop­ing to tap into $294,000 in fund­ing to im­prove pedes­trian ac­cess, re­duce the im­pact of ve­hi­cle traf­fic, im­prove the qual­ity of vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ences, and pro­tect the char­ac­ter and nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment sur­round­ing the world fa­mous church.

In the coun­cil’s ap­pli­ca­tion to the Min­istry for Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion, and En­ter­prise (MBIE), com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties man­ager Garth Nixon says the project was ex­pected to cost $420,000, with the coun­cil hop­ing $294,000 of that would come from gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

Nixon says is­sues with park­ing, over­crowd­ing and ve­hi­cle noise are dam­ag­ing the tourism hot spot, as well as pre­sent­ing safety risks.

Data sug­gested that more than 3000 peo­ple vis­ited the Church, and the nearby Col­lie Dog statue, per day over the sum­mer tourist pe­riod, amount­ing to 606,000 peo­ple dur­ing that time.

The coun­cil pro­poses a raft of mea­sures to re­duce the im­pact of grow­ing tourist num­bers on the church and its sur­rounds.

They in­clude the con­struc­tion of a new carpark for buses on the west­ern side of the Tekapo foot­bridge, to en­cour­age pedes­trian traf­fic as op­posed to ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic to the church, the in­stal­la­tion of new walk­ways and paths to im­prove views and pho­to­graphic op­por­tu­ni­ties,new fenc­ing and plant­ings, land­scap­ing to elim­i­nate bus ac­cess to the church, and the con­struc­tion of a stone wall struc­ture and paving around the Col­lie Dog statue to pro­vide more space.

The coun­cil was hop­ing to start all parts of the project ex­cept the plant­ing in Novem­ber, with the en­tire project set to be com­pleted by April 2018.

The Tekapo Com­mu­nity Board was con­tribut­ing $27,000 of its project bud­get for 2017/18 to­wards the cost.

‘‘With their con­tri­bu­tion they are able to se­cure equiv­a­lent funds ($27,000) from the Macken­zie Dis­trict Coun­cil’s Land Sub­di­vi­sion Re­serve,’’ Nixon says.

As part of its part­ner­ship with Christchurch Air­port and the Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury Mt John Ob­ser­va­tory, China South­ern Air­lines Ltd do­nated $45,000, to be used to as­sist in vis­i­tor ameni­ties. The Univer­sity has ap­proved this do­na­tion to be used on this Church of the Good Shep­herd project.

The Church of the Good Shep­herd has also com­mit­ted $27,000 to the project, amount­ing to a col­lec­tive con­tri­bu­tion of $126,000.

PHOTO: JOHN BISSET/ STUFF

Dip­ping into the lolly jar at the Mike Greer Homes stall were Alli Keane, 10, and Holly Berry, 9.

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