Wild­base Re­cov­ery build takes shape

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MIRI SCHROETER

Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Mag­gie Barry is one of the first to step where the pen­guins will play at Palmer­ston North’s new Wild­base re­cov­ery cen­tre.

Barry vis­ited the cen­tre’s con­struc­tion site at the Es­planade on Fri­day, to see the where New Zealand’s wildlife will re­cover from in­jury and ill­ness when the cen­tre opens by mid-2018.

Barry said the Cen­tral En­ergy Trust Wild­base Re­cov­ery fa­cil­ity was part of the core busi­ness of pro­tect­ing threat­ened na­tive species and she wanted to of­fer all the sup­port pos­si­ble.

The $5.6 mil­lion project, be­ing built by Kynoch Con­struc­tion, will care for birds and other an­i­mals treated at Massey Univer­sity’s Wild­base Hos­pi­tal in Palmer­ston North.

It has sig­nif­i­cant sup­port from the Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil, which pro­vided $1.3 mil­lion.

$950,000 came from Lotteries along with con­tri­bu­tions from Manawatu busi­nesses, in­clud­ing Hughes Join­ery, which con­trib­uted about $35,000.

But on­go­ing op­er­a­tional costs for the re­cov­ery cen­tre were ex­pected to be $200,000 a year more than the ex­ist­ing Vic­to­ria Es­planade aviaries, which it will be re­plac­ing.

A Givealit­tle page had been set up to help raise funds, but Barry said she wasn’t rul­ing out fur­ther help from the Govern­ment.

‘‘I’m very in­clined to help with this Wild­base op­er­a­tion across all the ac­tiv­i­ties that it does.

‘‘We need to just sit down with them and see where their needs are.’’

Wild­base would play an im­por­tant role in get­ting peo­ple en­gaged with New Zealand’s wildlife, Barry said.

It will of­fer a unique ex­pe­ri­ence with peo­ple able to watch the an­i­mals as they re­cover at the cen­tre.

New Zealand’s only na­tive wildlife re­cov­ery fa­cil­ity, the cen- tre will in­clude aviaries, an ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre and a phys­io­ther­apy ward.

Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil Wild­base Re­cov­ery project lead Aaron Phillips said some of the added op­er­a­tional costs were for the ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre and gen­eral main­te­nance.

There had been some un­ex­pected costs, but also some sig­nif­i­cant un­ex­pected sav­ings, so the project was still within bud­get, Phillips said.

‘‘We are con­tin­u­ing to re­ceive gen­er­ous in-kind do­na­tions and sup­port, and fundrais­ing will con­tinue.’’

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WILSON/STUFF

Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Mag­gie Barry at the Es­planade on Fri­day.

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