$713,000 colony project approved

Jason Gaskill
Jason Gaskill
The Waitaki District Council yesterday approved a $713,000 development of the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony to increase its size and appeal.

Visitor numbers at other tourist ventures south of Christchurch had declined because of the two Christchurch earthquakes, but the colony's manager, Jason Gaskill, was confident the development would ensure the colony retained its status in the industry.

Before February's second earthquake in Christchurch, the number of visitors to the Oamaru colony were holding up, but they had declined since.

Mr Gaskill is confident the development will pay its way.

Yesterday, the council agreed, and decided to allow the Waitaki Development Board to oversee the development, funded by $700,000 in reserves the colony has built up.

Mr Gaskill said the development was needed to provide more space for visitors, incorporate new technology, improve research and meet the demands of people "looking a bit more up-market".

The development was not aimed at increasing visitor numbers but offering extra, especially to those 35% of visitors who came during the day but did not do anything while at the colony.

It would also help meet increasing competition from other tourism ventures by broadening the colony's appeal.



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