Wildlife funded but not while in hospital

Lisa Argilla prepares to give medication to a yellow-eyed penguin on the opening day of the...
Lisa Argilla prepares to give medication to a yellow-eyed penguin at the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital. Photo: ODT
Dunedin's wildlife hospital has missed out, but Predator Free Dunedin is among the winners as the Otago Regional Council finalises its long-term plan.

A regional council committee meeting in Dunedin yesterday endorsed its plan amid changes recommended by its hearings committee.

The Dunedin Wildlife Hospital requested at least $100,000 a year in funding from the council.

The committee backed the hearings committee's recommendation to not fund the facility.

This was despite several councillors noting they had received many emails from the public urging the council to support the hospital.

The decision was partly because Port Otago, a company owned by the council, already gave the hospital $15,000 a year.

Cr Michael Laws pushed for the council to increase its commitment to eradicating lagarosiphon from $25,000 a year to $50,000. This motion was lost.

Cr Laws said it was ''not an awful lot of money'' to ask for. The extra funding would go towards a lake weed spraying operation, which was very ''bitsy''.

''My community would not get upset about having a targeted rate on this issue.''

Cr Doug Brown said he was uncomfortable with increasing the amount committed to the lake weed, as the council should send the message lake management was the responsibility of Land Information New Zealand.

The committee accepted the hearings panel's recommendation to give Predator Free Dunedin $300,000 a year for five years.

It would be taken from its environmental enhancement fund and general reserve in the first year and the council would consult about funding methods in future years.

Cr Gretchen Robertson said this was a huge investment in the community.

''This will make a real difference.''

While the council was not supporting the wildlife hospital, that investment was helping the animals in the wild, she said.

Overall, the submissions did not contain complaints about rates increases; rather, they wanted the council to do more work, she said.

The council also endorsed a recommendation to massively increase water monitoring at a cost of $36.7million and decided the installation of three lake buoys should be brought forward to the first year of the plan.

The council will officially accept the plan at its meeting later this month.

jono.edwards@odt.co.nz

 

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