New Zealand's endangered Hector's dolphins could be preserved and a breeding programme established at Napier's beleaguered Marineland facility, says a former Napier local-authority trading enterprise director.
Ron Rowe wants a feasibility study done on Marineland's future - but the Napier City Council says it will not fund an upgrade needed for the replacement of dolphins.
Mr Rowe said in a submission to the council's long-term council community that any decision to replace Marineland's iconic dolphin, Shona, should be made in consultation with the community.
During the recent public debate about Marineland, he said, several people had commented on housing Hector's dolphins at the attraction.
Mr Rowe suggested the council should work with the Government to establish a facility that would nurture and breed Hector's dolphins.
"Everyone going through the turnstiles would be contributing to the survival and continuation of a species unique to our country and the world. Just as Art Deco has put Napier and Hawke's Bay on the world stage so, too, would this major act of species preservation."
A mixture of loans, reserves and community funding could fund the cost of replacement, and long-term options should involve redeveloping and modernising the existing animal displays.
"The options to import zoo-bred dolphins should be reviewed, along with the costs involved for a complete upgrade of Marineland's facilities."
Marine Parade had only two facilities that made a major difference in the tourism marketplace - Marineland and the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
Mayor Barbara Arnott said the council's hands were tied by Government restrictions on replacing dolphins, unless the petition circulating forced MPs to change their minds.
Submissions on Marineland were also received from Stan Simmonds, Megan Welsby, and Marie Harding.