Whopping grant boosts Wakatipu war on wildings

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A whopping Lotteries grant of $132,000 has given a major boost to the Wakatipu’s war against wildings. 

Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group spokeswoman Briana Pringle says the new money will allow control to take place in Roaring Meg, Bush Creek, the iconic Skippers Canyon, Closeburn and Moke Lake towards
Glenorchy, the front faces of Coronet Peak Station and German Hill, Arrowtown. 

The grant, from the Lotteries Commission’s Environment and Heritage Lottery Grants Board, comes just as the group has started to gain the upper hand in the battle. 

Control group chairman Peter Willsman told the AGM last month they’re on the cusp of controlling the spread of wilding pines in parts of the Wakatipu. 

Pringle, announcing the $132,601 grant today (Tuesday), says: “We’re now in great shape to look forward to another productive control season.” 

Both the control group and the Government’s Department of Conversation have more than 10,000ha of land under control, after spending $600,000 in the past year. 

The extra funding comes on top of $129,451 from Queenstown Lakes District Council, a $50,000 Skyline Enterprises annual contribution targeted at Ben Lomond and Bowen Peak and funding from Land Information New Zealand. 

At last month’s control group AGM, DoC Wakatipu area boss Greg Lind said lives would be lost in rampant fires if large tracts of wildings at Closeburn connecting to Queenstown hill suburbs of Fernhill and Sunshine Bay weren’t kept under control.