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The Timaru Eco Centre plans

by Alexia Johnston

The Sustainable South Canterbury Trust is seeking council investment into ongoing development.

Trust members this week invited the Timaru District Council and Environment Canterbury (ECan) to each invest $150,000 in support of a proposed $1.3million eco-centre at Redruth, Timaru.

Trust chairman Brian Gallagher made the submissions to each council’s 10-year plan.

“The council has great cultural and learning facilities with the museum, art gallery and Theatre Royal, however the Timaru district and wider South Canterbury area does not have any community environmental facilities,” he said.

The trust was established in 2004.

It has primarily been responsible for the operation and management of the Crow’s Nest re-use shop at Redruth, which was under contract to the council.

Mr Gallagher said the Crow’s Nest has evolved into a steady niche market for the community, with 21,000 paying customers per year.

He said the re-use shop was developed near the Saltwater Creek wetland and walkway area to enable a future hub of other activities to be developed as part of the trust’s broader strategy.

It has always been an objective of the trust to develop an environmental education and learning centre as part of the Redruth hub, he said.

“The purpose of the eco-centre development is to bring the community to a location to provide information and demonstrate practical solutions on sustainability.”

He said there were at present no dedicated facilities to meet that need in the area.

“This facility will enable a platform for national, regional and local government agencies, as well as NGOs [non-government agencies] to build good relationships with the local community, including rural and urban people, the various business sectors and local iwi.”

The trust has previously presented to the council about the eco-centre project.

“Construction specifications and drawings have now been finalised and the intent is for tender pricing to be completed shortly,” Mr Gallagher said.