Centre construction postponed until 2017

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CONSTRUCTION of Curio Bay’s natural heritage centre has been postponed until next year.
Work on the $5 million development was to have begun by the end of April, but South Catlins Charitable Trust chairman Paul Duffy said delays finalising building consent meant the trust had run out of time this year.
‘‘We had to finish the bulk of construction before the yelloweyed penguin breeding season in October and the timeframe was getting too tight.’’
Calder Stewart would remain the design-build contractors and commencement date would be March, he said.
An estimated 100,000 people visit Curio Bay each year to view the petrified forest, yellow-eyed penguins, Hector’s dolphins and sea lions.
The natural heritage centre will contain the area’s first visitor information and education facilities, as well as a cafe, a camping ground office, public toilets and a small theatre, all set in a landscaped garden with a large car park.
Funding has been secured by the trust, with support from the Southland District Council, the Department of Conservation (Doc) and local iwi.
Although the trust had been planning the centre for 12 years, Mr Duffy said members were not disappointed construction had been delayed.
‘‘The reality is we will get a better result if we wait until next year. There’s still work to do on the interpretation panels for the centre too, so delaying will give us more time to get those finished and ready to go.’’

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