Wildbase Recovery Centre takes shape
Support for a rehabilitation centre for injured birds continues to swell as foundations for the project take shape.
The $5.6 million aviary facility in Palmerston North will enable the public to watch for free as birds and other wildlife treated at Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital recuperate before their return to the wild.
While the main contractors Kynoch Construction continue to clear the ground at Victoria Esplanade and install poles that will support the aviary covers, carvers, education staff and additional sponsors are at work off site.
City council senior property and parks planner Aaron Phillips said there had been a lot of ground work to do since the first sod was turned in April, and donations kept on coming.
The Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery Centre is due to open about May next year. Its location at the Esplanade is expected to mean many people will see part of the rehabilitation journey for wildlife in the city.
Programmed Property Services, a national firm with a Palmerston North presence, had committed to doing all the interior and exterior painting, worth about $100,000.
Regional manager Dave Bleackley said the company recognised the centre would be not just a local drawcard, but an important national facility.
‘‘It would have been a huge donation for a branch, but we were able to convince the company this was of national significance.’’
Carved atua or guardians would be a key aspect of the centre, with Rangitane carvers Craig and Tipene Kawana already crafting shapes from totara logs at a studio at the Ashhurst Domain.
Kawana, from Rangita¯ne/ Ngati Apa and Muaupoko iwi, has been responsible for many of the traditional Maori carvings at the entrance to Te Apiti - Manawatu Gorge.
Other people were working on the content of educational material that would be displayed in the centre.
Central Energy Trust claimed naming rights for the centre with a $2m investment, plus pledging an annual $25,000 for running costs.
The centre will be owned by the city council, putting in $1.3m, and co-managed by Massey University’s Veterinary School.
Craig Kawana is working on totara logs for carvings that will be a part of the Wildbase Recovery aviaries.