Ecocentre final plans out

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Picture this . . . Timaru's ecocentre will be an education hub. PHOTO: RUSHTON ARCHITECTS

Timaru’s environmental centre is another step closer.

The final architect’s plans for the ecocentre, being built by the Sustainable South Canterbury Trust, have been released.

Fundraising efforts are to start soon to build the foundations, connect services, insulate and fit the ecocentre out.

The centre will provide education to schools as well as the community and will host activities and sustainability demonstrations.

“The town is pulling together to get this going. We’ve had tremendous support and we’re optimistic.” – Rhys Taylor

Sustainable South Canterbury Trust trustee Rhys Taylor said the group would seek building consent soon and approach potential builders for quotes and sponsorship.

“We will also begin grant applications in September,” he said.

“The work will be phased, with foundations and site servicing first, followed by a second phase of insulation, interior lining, electrics and fit-out.

“It will cost several hundred thousand dollars, even with commercial help in kind, so we have a challenging fundraising target.”

He was confident the community would support the project, Mr Taylor said.

In 2015 property developer Kevin Pateman donated the former Highfield tennis and bowls club building for the project.

The timber building was moved in two sections to the centre’s site in Redruth near the trust’s reuse shop, the Crow’s Nest. The site is leased from the Timaru District Council.

Mr Taylor acknowledged the work of Timaru architect John Rushton, who had provided his skills free of charge.

“John and his team have volunteered their design work so far, which is a considerable and generous help to the trust,” he said.

“He has also arranged voluntary input from specialists such as fire engineers and quantity surveyors.”

According to the the design, the buildings will be oriented east to west and joined via a new foyer area.

Significant glazing will work with the thermal mass of the foyer’s concrete floor and allow for “passive solar heating”.

Recycled timber windows will be used.

There will be a display area to the west of the foyer, and classroom space to the east.

There will be an outside classroom with a windbreak to provide protection from the easterly and shade sails.

A second frame will be added to the external walls for greater insulation, and ceiling insulation will be double that required by building codes.

Power will be generated by solar roof panels and hot-water heating aided by solar evacuated tubes, also mounted on the roof.

To tie in with the centre’s eco theme, storm water will be collected and reused. There will also be a composting toilet.

Mr Taylor said the Crow’s Nest had had another successful year of sales under new manager Darren Edwards and his team.

“Although operating costs are also rising, so there is no surplus available from there to pass across to the project.

“We have some balances and a recent donation to use for preparatory work and then progress will depend on fundraising.”

It was exciting for the trustees to be moving on to the next stage of the project with “valued community support”.

“The town is pulling together to get this going. We’ve had tremendous support and we’re optimistic.”

The trust will hold a fundraising movie evening on August 21, as part of the International Film Festival.