Wetland gifted to council

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The Otipua Wetland has been gifted to the people of Timaru.
The Timaru District Council officially exchanged ownership of the 19ha wetland property with the Otipua Wetland Charitable Trust on Friday.
The area was once described as a wasteland and is now a place for the community to visit and enjoy the type of wetland found along the Canterbury coastline 200 years ago.
It was originally purchased by the trust in 1997 and was developed as a result of initiatives by regional authorities, community organisations and the public in a combined effort to restore the area to its former beauty.
Thousands of volunteer hours have been spent replanting and carving out tracks for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy.
Otipua Wetland Charitable Trust chairman Ken Linscott said the trustees had agreed to gifting the wetland as ‘‘the best proposition for the long-term development and management of the wetland project’’.
‘‘Ownership by the community via the council offers the best course of protection,’’ he said.
Council parks manager Bill Steans said staff were looking forward to working with the trust going into the future.
‘‘Both organisations are keen to see the Otipua Wetlands continue to develop, not only for the environment, but also for education and the enjoyment of all,’’ Mr Steans said.
‘‘The Timaru District Council recognises the value of the biodiversity on site and the benefit to the environment.
The tracks dovetailed nicely with the council’s other tracks in the vicinity, he said.