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Brook Waimārama Sanctuary takes over the management of the Brook Valley campground

Brook Waimārama Sanctuary Trust Chair Chris Hawkes, left, with Nelson Mayor Nick Smith and Brook Sanctuary Chief Executive Ru Collin, after signing the agreements for the Brook Valley Holiday Park.

Nelson City Council and the Brook Waimārama Sanctuary Trust (BWST) are pleased to announce that the Trust will be taking over management of the Brook Valley Holiday Park.

The Sanctuary Trust and Council signed the agreements today, Monday 29 April 2024, for the Trust to lease the Brook Reserve and manage the campground. It will take over management from 1 June for five years and, for the first two years of the lease only, will receive a yearly campground management fee of $400,000 to ensure the transition from Council to the Trust is successful.

Brook Sanctuary Chief Executive Ru Collin says the decision to take over the camp is part of the Sanctuary’s ongoing commitment to safeguarding natural habitats and fostering sustainable practices within the region, as well as providing additional opportunities for visitor experience.

“Managing the Brook Valley Holiday Park is a great opportunity and we consider it a pivotal step towards creating a model for sustainable recreation and conservation in the Nelson area. We are committed to ensuring the site remains a treasure for the community, while contributing to the broader ecological health of the region and we hope to see the campground features complement the activities of the Sanctuary.”

Nelson Mayor Nick Smith says having the Brook Waimārama Sanctuary lease the reserve and manage the campground is good for the Sanctuary, Council and the city.

“The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary right on Nelson’s doorstep is an incredible conservation asset as the largest pest-free haven in the South Island for New Zealand’s unique wildlife. The lease of the reserve at the entrance to the Sanctuary and taking over the management of the campground gives the Sanctuary, which currently has very little flat land, the opportunity to expand its role in tourism and as an educational and conservation advocacy centre.

“This initiative is good for the Council as running a campground is not our core business, it’s good for ratepayers in that the campground currently costs our ratepayers over $500,000 per year and the new agreement provides opportunity for significant savings over the term of the lease. The Trust has the opportunity to offer a unique tourism experience for people camping next to the Sanctuary. Imagine experiencing the beautiful dawn chorus of our native birdlife and the opportunity to enjoy night and day tours of this spectacular sanctuary. I think this gives the Trust, which has board members with significant governance experience, all the levers it needs to make the camp a sustainable financial operation for both the city and the Sanctuary.”

Sanctuary Trust Chair Chris Hawkes says the Sanctuary Trust will be working with Council to establish a shared long-term vision for the campground, envisioning a sustainable and thriving space that extends the Sanctuary’s mission for generations to come.

Ideas include integrating recreational activities and ecological conservation at the reserve, as well as additional educational programs aimed at deepening visitors’ understanding of the local ecosystem.

“The campground offers a great conduit to working closer to the Sanctuary’s key stakeholders like the Nelson City Council. It will also generate another activity for the Sanctuary to engage with more of the community,” Hawkes says.

Council’s Group Manager Community Services Andrew White says Long Term Occupants at the Brook Campground have been considered as part of the change in management.

“Long Term Occupants will be able to stay in the campground and the Trust will be working closely with campground users and long-term occupants when it takes over the lease.”

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