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Board to debate future of Kumaras cycle track

June 9th, 2014
[by David Armstrong]

The Motueka Community Board tomorrow will debate the future of the cycle and walking path between the golf course and the Kumaras reserve, as weather damage continues to threaten this part of the Great Taste cycle trail.

In his report to the board for its June meeting, chairman Paul Hawkes asks how much money should be spent on this section of cycleway that is going to be affected by more regular weather events.

"With limited funding available for cycleway maintenance and repair, is it time for consideration to be given to an alternative route, bypassing this section?" he asks.

Recent severe weather events have dealt serious damage to the cycle trail along the foreshore near the Staples Street end of Raumanuka Reserve, commonly called the Kumaras.

High tides combined with storm surges, where atmospheric low pressure lifts the sea surface even higher, and strong on-shore winds, have eroded parts of this track several times in recent years. This photo shows a washed away section during the storm this Easter.

"There is a question as to how much money should be spent on a section of cycleway that is going to be affected by more regular weather events," Paul says in his report.

"I appreciate that the existing section is very picturesque, but there is a financial limit to how often this can be maintained and repaired. At best the repair is only a temporary patch up."

Paul is suggesting instead an inland route along Harbour Road and Thorp Street.

The Kumaras path was built by Keep Motueka Beautiful (KMB) mainly for local use for dog walkers and recreational cyclists, but it is too close to sea level to be safe from storm damage. It is also widely considered too narrow for safe shared use as the number of cyclists increases.

When the Great Taste cycle trail was being planned a couple of years ago, it was assumed that this path would be a key link, as it passes a very picturesque and interesting section of foreshore.

But while much of the rest of the cycle trail between Richmond and Kaiteriteri has been formed from scratch to good standards, this section has been left as it is - at a much lower standard - presumably because it was already there.

There has been wrangling between Tasman District Council, KMB and the cycle trail trust over who should develop it further (by widening and raising it) and maintain it.

A huge complicating factor is that land ownership in the strip close to the foreshore is complex, involving iwi, Department of Conservation, Council and private parties.

In his report, Paul sees three options:

  1. Spend a significant amount of the cycleway maintenance budget repairing the existing section, which is again likely to be damaged with future weather events.
  2. Approach with urgency the land owners and iwi, to redirect the trail away from future likely weather events.
  3. Redirect the cycle trail at Motueka Quay/Harbour Road intersection, and follow the existing pathway alongside the Golf course down Harbour Road to Thorp Street intersection.

    Then paint a cycle lane northwards on Thorp Street to the grass section just past the Pethybridge and Thorp Street intersections and develop a new cycleway along Thorp Street to Staples Street to meet up with the current cycle trail section along Staples Street.

    (In this map, the red line shows the existing path and the blue line what option 3 suggests.)

He says option 3 seems less difficult than option 2, as "Council currently owns the majority of the land required for this to be constructed on and is unlikely to ever be affected by severe weather events in the near future".

Paul will recommend that the Community Board requests Council's Development Engineer to report back to the Board's next meeting on the options for dealing with the cycle trail, along with a recommendation on a way forward.

A TDC staff spokesman says Council's Development Engineer, Dugald Ley, is the liaison person with the Cycle Trail Trust, so it would be appropriate for the Board to seek advice through a report from Dugald on how to deal with the matter.


Comment by Beth Bryant:
[Posted 15 June 2014]

I am very supportive of moving the cycletrail from the kumara area of coast. It is continually washing away and is a money gobbler. In addition, it would be excellent to have a footpath along Thorp to Staple Street. This area is used a lot by walkers and a path is becoming necessary for safety.

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