Trustees needed as Wetlands project enters next stage

A wetlands project five years in the planning is about to enter its next phase.

The Lawrence Community Wetlands Project was conceived by resident Jim Robertson in 2014, with the aim of developing 2.5ha of "low-value'' land at the town's northern exit into an eco-friendly community asset and tourist attraction.

Economic development agency Clutha Development took the project under its wing in 2015, and established a community working group to develop its potential.

Following a successful feasibility study in 2017, and "behind the scenes'' foundational work with stakeholders and potential funders, the project now required a board of trustees to bring it to fruition, Clutha Development chief executive Linda Moore said.

"It's a project that fits really well in the context of existing assets in that part of Lawrence, such as the Chinese Camp, the Clutha Gold Cycle Trail and the private Bellview Wetlands. There's a firm concept on the table and considerable work has been done to bring it to this stage.

"Now we need trustees for a legal entity that can manage the project, apply for funding, et cetera.''

Project initiator Mr Robertson's brother, Steven, had owned and developed the adjoining Bellview Wetlands Reserve since 1997.

The 5ha reserve had flourished under his stewardship, and would be a "complementary'' attraction for the proposed new wetland.

Investigations by the Working Waters Trust had also identified two endangered native fish in the area, the Clutha flathead galaxiid and the dusky galaxiid.

Ms Moore hoped the completed facility would serve as a haven for these and other native species.

Early interest in joining the next phase of development had been strong, she said.

Applications would close on Friday.

Clutha Development would continue to "support and facilitate'' the project, which she hoped would get under way during the next 12 to 18 months.

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