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Council changes heart on cycleway project funding

May 27th, 2012
[by David Armstrong]

Tasman District Council has listened to the 93 submitters to its draft Long Term Plan who want the Great Taste cycle trail to be completed, and have reinstated in the final plan a commitment to finish it, albeit to a lower standard for now.

Last Thursday's full council meeting approved a budget to build the trail from Mapua to Kaiteriteri to grade 3 level in the next financial year, and the full loop including Tapawera over next five years. The commitment also includes $150,000 from the Ministry of Economic Development for the Riwaka to Kaiteriteri section, if spent by the end of this year. (See our earlier story here.)

Chairman of the Motueka Cycle Trail group, John Kerridge, said this is great news and TDC should be thanked for its change of mind. "At the same time, we still need to raise money and it may still be as much as $600,000 so this doesn't really change the objectives of our group."

Budgetary problems still mean that the route will not initially be of Grade 1 or 2 standard, which some touring cyclists will prefer. Council said the trail from Mapua via Seaton Valley to the bypass road will be Grade 3 for one year until agreements can be confirmed with affected landowners to upgrade the Chaytor Track/Higgs Road links in 2013/2014.

And the reduced grade on Tasman View Road is the result of doing the minimum work in light of Councilís long term plans to upgrade this road and install a high pressure water main along its length in 2021/2022.

Council noted that the route through Motueka to Riwaka is presently formed, albeit to a Grade 3/4 trail. Some upgrades - meaning mainly widening - will be required to raise it to Grade 2.

"It is envisaged that community groups in and around Motueka will co-contribute to upgrade the route to Grade 1/2 within a short timeframe, possibly one to two years," the Council report said.

John Kerridge said he will work with the Cycleway Trust this week or so going through the detail, and will brief his group on what it means locally. "The general feedback .... is, thanks to TDC, but we still need to raise money."

Mayor Richard Kempthorne said Council will be exploring funding options through the Cycleway Trust and the Ministry of Economic Development rather than just using ratepayer funding. He said the number and strength of public submissions, and feedback from the community, encouraged council to reconsider.

"We had a lot of submissions in favour of the cycle trail and they were all personal - they weren't form submissions," he told the Nelson Mail. "It was very helpful because it gave us a lot of different perspectives on the issue.

"One thing that is clear is that the cycle trail will be a big asset for the locals as well as the tourism industry. There are already a lot of cyclists around here using the trail."


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