Council makes funding bid to build trail to Central HB

By Lawrence Gullery

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A cycle and walking trail connecting Hastings with Central Hawke's Bay should be next on the list of pathways funded by the New Zealand Cycle Trails scheme.

Central Hawke's Bay District Council has asked the remaining NZ Cycle Trails funding, managed by Hawke's Bay Regional Council, be released to build the two projects.

It would be used for a trail linking Waipawa to Waipukurau, about 7km, via river stop banks and Te Pairu Rd, and a second linking Havelock North to Waipawa via Middle Rd, about 42.8km.

The CHB council made the request in a submission to the regional council's annual plan and it will be considered at a hearing next month.

CHB had committed $10,000 in the next financial year to the project and it was aware Waipukurau Rotary would also make a financial contribution.

CHB council's chief executive John Freeman said the Waipawa to Waipukurau stretch was a "bottleneck" in the national cycleway link.

Over the past two year the CHB council had been working with Waipukurau Rotary and regional council staff on preliminary plans.

"Both projects meet national and regional objectives," he said. "Nationally the projects support the initial focus of Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail, developing great rides.

"These projects would meet the long term objective to expand the national trail, connecting Great Rides with the rest of New Zealand."

The two projects could become part of the Hawke's Bay Trails, which was co-ordinated by the regional council, worth about $5.5 million.

Funding has come from New Zealand Cycle Trails $2.6 million, Hawke's Bay Regional Council, $2.1 million, Napier and Hastings Rotary Pathway Trusts, $267,000, Napier City Council, $195,000, Hastings District Council, $310,000.

New Zealand Transport Agency had contributed up to 61 per cent of costs where there was a direct safety benefit.

Waipukurau Rotary Club had also made a submission to the regional council's annual plan asking for support to build a walkway and cycle trail linking Waipukurau and Waipawa.

It had committed $10,000 to the project.

Its submission said some initial costs suggested the investment needed would be between $250,000 to $300,000 for the first two stages.

Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said a connection from Hastings district to CHB would be a logical addition to the overall walking and cycling network.

"It would open up a beautiful part of the region which would be fantastic.

"It would deliver an important visitor connection between Hastings district and CHB," she said.

"You could go on to open up a number of trails but I think we also have to enhancing what we've already got."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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