Funding to enable more visitors to see Vanished World

The Vanished World fossil and geological trail around the Waitaki district is to get a higher profile to boost visitor numbers, with help from Meridian Energy Ltd.

It had received a $10,000 grant from the Meridian Waitaki Community Fund, which would be used to increase the number of signs around the trail, particularly out of Oamaru, Vanished World chairman John Hore said yesterday.

Visitors following the trail - which stretches from Waianakarua in the south to Oamaru and then to the Vanished World headquarters at Duntroon - continued to increase, despite a drop in tourists visiting New Zealand, he said.

However, new and more signs would draw greater visitor numbers to the fossil and geological trails, and exhibitions at Duntroon, which make up the attractions.

Research had shown significant numbers of visitors to the Waitaki Valley were bypassing the fossil trail simply because they did not know it was there.

Community fund acting chairman Mat Bayliss said the latest funding round marked the end of the initial three-year period under which a total of $1 million was available to support Waitaki community projects.

"We feel very satisfied to have provided support for a wide range of community projects, which might not otherwise have happened, and we look forward to continuing this work when the new fund comes into effect during 2010," he said yesterday.

Meridian last year decided to continue the community fund by providing a further $1 million to be available for another three-year period.

Other projects supported by the fund's latest round were. - $20,000 to upgrade the Glenavy Community Hall; $20,000 to the Lake Alexandrina Conservation Trust; $10,000 to the Otematata Wetland Walkway; $5000 for tents at the Twizel Market; $3953 to upgrade the Ikawai Community Hall kitchen.

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