Sunday, October 17, 2021

Ratepayer-funded $1.8m injection confirmed for Hamilton Zoo project

The plan is to transform the entranceway of Hamilton Zoo and link it to Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, across the road. Pictured is an artist's impression of the proposed new zoo entrance, seen from Waiwhakareke.

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The plan is to transform the entranceway of Hamilton Zoo and link it to Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, across the road. Pictured is an artist’s impression of the proposed new zoo entrance, seen from Waiwhakareke.

A multimillion-dollar upgrade of the Hamilton Zoo entranceway has attracted more ratepayer investment following a shortfall in outside funding.

Work on a shared entry precinct to the zoo and Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park began in February, with the project set to be completed in three stages.

City councillors agreed on Tuesday to boost the budget for stage one of the project to $7,725,000 – an increase of $1.8m on the original budget. The funding increase was first signalled by council in August.

Incoming council chief executive Lance Vervoort​ said the new budget will allow features on the Waiwhakareke side of the shared entry precinct to be completed.

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CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

A blessing ceremony was held before construction began on a shared entry precinct at Hamilton Zoo and Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park. This video was first published in February 2021.

These features include a 10-metre tall viewing tower, a walkway and a covered canopy.

Aspects of the precinct project are expected to be completed by December.

In August, elected members were told the project had struggled to attract funding from Hamilton’s business community, leaving a shortfall of about $1.17m.

Work on the entranceway began in February. Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate and Ngaati Hauaa representative Hone Thompson are pictured turning the first sod (file photo).

Christel Yardley/Stuff

Work on the entranceway began in February. Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate and Ngaati Hauaa representative Hone Thompson are pictured turning the first sod (file photo).

The move to increase the council’s funding stake follows a decision by councillors last week to fund a feasibility study into the costs and benefits of constructing a predator-proof fence around Waiwhakareke.

The report, which is due to be completed in early 2022, is expected to cost $65,000, although a budget of $130,000 has been set aside.

Creating a safe connection between the zoo and Waiwhakareke is one of the key drivers of the precinct project.

Parts of the new entry precinct to Hamilton Zoo and Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park are expected to be complete by December.

MARK TAYLOR/Stuff

Parts of the new entry precinct to Hamilton Zoo and Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park are expected to be complete by December.

The speed limit along Brymer Rd will be lowered from 60kmh to 30kmh, with traffic-calming measures to be built along the road.

As well as improved connections between the two sites, the first stage of the zoo/heritage park project also includes the construction of a visitor arrival centre, a public café and toilets.

Stage two of the project includes the construction of a shared car park, and access and road improvements

The final stage will feature the construction an education/function centre.

Tuesday’s vote confirming the increased contract sum did not trigger any debate among elected members.

This article first show on www.stuff.co.nz Source link Author AARON LEAMAN on date 2021-10-12 21:47:43

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