Glenorchy white knights detail project

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AN American multi-millionaire philanthropist couple has revealed detailed plans for an eco-development in Glenorchy.

Paul Brainerd, credited with pioneering computer desktop publishing in the 1980s, and wife Debbi bought ramshackle Glenorchy Holiday Park for about $1 million earlier this year.

They hope the Glenorchy Marketplace Project will serve as a model for environmental sustainability for New Zealand and bolster the local economy.

The multi-phase three-year build includes a new general store and expanded range of accommodation options.

The project, planned for the 3ha site, is in the design, concept and consenting stage.

Accommodation will include cottages, bunkhouses, campervan sites and tent pitches, catering for up to 100 guests.

Restoration of a native landscape is also planned to help re-establish the native bird population.

The Brainerds have visited New Zealand for 18 years and in the past two years had spearheaded efforts to bring high-speed internet access to Glenorchy and iPads for pupils at teachers at Glenorchy School.

Ngai Tahu Tourism regional general manager David Kennedy says more than 100,000 people visit Glenorchy per annum, but many did not spend a night in the town.

“This project will serve as a magnet to draw added attention and visitor dollars to Glenorchy and all it has to offer,” Kennedy says.

In a first for the South Island, the project will seek a NetZero energy certification for the much of the development.

The certification is the highest standard for environmental sustainability in the world at present.

Providing the project is consented, it is hoped the development will begin in January.