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Pukaha project forges ahead

By Don Farmer

[email protected]

Stormwater improvements and a much-needed extension to the car parking area at Pukaha Mount Bruce are a step nearer with news Eastern and Central Community Trust, is contributing $30,000 for the combined project.

The grant, along with a $40,000 pledge by Trust House, means things are on track to start Pukaha work on the $120,000 project in March and to have it completed before next year’s summer season.

Money raised from the recent Wairarapa Garden Tour, which amounted to $26,000, is not earmarked for capital improvement programmes, instead being used for on-going maintenance such as pest control.

Pukaha general manager, Helen Tickner, said latest news the community trust was contributing was “fantastic”.

She said it’s a challenge to raise money for facilities like carparks or sewerage systems because they don’t have the same excitement factor as other aspects of the conservation and education work that Pukaha provides.

The stormwater section of the project is to be done first before the area south of the existing carpark is developed.

Up until now the area has acted as a “secondary carpark” but proper development will mean 42 extra vehicle spaces will come on stream.

Mrs Tickner said Pukaha has become “a victim of our own success.”

“During summer months we have seen cars driving in only to drive straight out again because the carpark is full,” she said.

On a busy, peak season day more than 400 people visit the centre.

Many are often forced to park their vehicles on the side of the main state highway when the existing carpark becomes jammed.

“It’s a safety issue — we can’t have cars, many bringing families with small children, parking on the side of a busy road,” Mrs Tickner said.

The funding news came as an excellent farewell gift for Pukaha’s outgoing executive officer John Gilberthorpe, who has raised several million dollars for the centre in his eight year tenure.

“It’s been good to have made successful applications for funding of the kiwi house upgrade, the modern sewerage system and the aviary, and now funding towards the carpark,” he said.

Eastern and Central Community Trust is an independent, charitable trust.

It distributes donations for the benefit of communities throughout Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Manawatu, Tararua, Wairarapa and Horowhenua.

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