Foundation work on the geologically complex site of the new $26 million Experience Centre at Dolomite Point, Punakaiki, is almost at the stage where work can begin above ground.
Dolomite Point is a limestone karst headland on the West Coast, and home to pancake-shaped rock formations, blowholes and surge pools.
The anchor-shaped building, started in May, will eventually house the Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre and other facilities for the Department of Conservation.
After months of ground and foundation work – including pile driving down to 16 metres – scaffolding up to 8m has been erected to encase the building’s frame in plastic ‘wrap’.
This will protect it from the extreme coastal elements as work notches up on the timber building.
The scaffold highest point is slightly above the height of the new building, with a metal frame for a lift to a mezzanine floor already installed at one end.
Dolomite Point is one of the most visited DOC sites in the region.
It grew from 213,000 visitors in 2008 on the Pancake Rocks walkway, to 511,000 in 2018, placing significant pressure on dated infrastructure at the site.
A key aspect of the redevelopment, including wider redevelopment of visitor facilities such as parking, is the re-establishment of a cultural footprint in the area for Ngāti Waewae.
The runanga will be gifted the new experience centre to own and operate.
It has been funded through the provincial growth fund.
Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz