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By GUY WILLIAMS

The Glenorchy Community Association’s hoping to nab $700,000 in Jobs for Nature funding for a project designed to address the township’s wellbeing issues as well as its biodiversity goals.

If the application’s successful, the ‘Glenorchy Eastern Biodiversity Corridor’ project will pay
under-employed residents to clear weeds and replant natives on eight hectares of council-owned land skirting the township’s eastern edge.

Association chairman John Glover says the opportunity for the project’s arisen from Queenstown council’s recent purchase of four hectares from Wyuna Station, after years of lobbying, completing a corridor of fallow land running from the start of the Glenorchy-Paradise road down to the Glenorchy-Queenstown road.

With Glenorchy Lagoon to the north, the Buckler Burn to the south and the lake to the west of the township, the project would complete a circle of biodiversity and predator control around the town ship, Glover says.

‘‘We’ve already got biodiversity and planting work happening to the north, and predator control to the south, so it’s a really great way to bring indigenous planting and birdsong
as a fitting backdrop to the town.’’

A walking and biking trail would also beformed along the corridor, opening up ‘‘absolutely
stunning’’ views.

The association applied this week for $698,000 over three years from the Department of Conservation’s Jobs for Nature Community Conservation Fund.

It’s a one-off $16 million pot of money for on-the-ground biodiversity projects.

As well as the removal of weeds and native replanting, a plant nursery would be established.

Although the project would formally create four-to-five full-time equivalent jobs each year,
the project’s aimed at sup porting up to 30 residents — whose working hours have been reduced by Covid’s impact on local tourism businesses — by providing them with one or
two days of extra work a week, he says.

That would help keep families in the township, and maintain the viability of community  facilities such as the primary school, playgroup, library and swimming pool.

Although the pandemic’s causing pain in the community, the government’s boost in funding for conservation has created a window of opportunity for the township to ‘‘accelerate towards its environmental vision’’, he says.

That vision could include a conservation precinct in the township with a centre for science, environmental education, training and practical conservation programmes that include ‘‘visitor give back programmes’’.

He expects to hear the outcome of the applicationby April.

guy.williams@scene.co.nz