A cycle and walking trail connecting Waipukurau to Waipawa is one step closer to being a reality.
The project is now in the initial planning stages, as the base funding has finally been sourced, Rotary River Pathways committee chairman Roy Fraser said.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council (HBRC) has tagged a maximum of $100,000 to the project, communications manager Drew Broadley said.
HBRC would provide 50 per cent match-funding if the trail was on HBRC land or 25 per cent if the trail was on non-HBRC land, up to the maximum cap of $100,000, Mr Broadley said. The funds will come from NZ Cycle Trails and are managed by the council.
Central Hawke's Bay District Council and Waipukurau Rotary Club have allocated $10,000 each to go towards the project.
"We are very grateful to these organisations for their support and the project is definitely a goer," Mr Fraser said.
The focus is on the trail that would be linking Waipawa to Waipukurau, about 7km, via river stop banks and Te Pairu Road.
No official plan was currently in place but the Rotary River Pathways committee now felt it was in a position to say the project would go ahead.
The group was now doing a detailed plan and costing of the project with the assistance of HBRC.
"We'd like to be under way by the end of this year," Mr Fraser said.
The time frame for the completion of the project was now dependent on community and other funding sources.
"We're looking at about another $100,000 - $200,000 but we now know we have a base to start with. There is no doubt that a network of pathways will be a great asset to the district," he said.
Central Hawke's Bay mayor Peter Butler was supportive of the trail which would go around Waipawa River.
He believed the trail would have the most use from the community and said he could see it being used by kids biking to the sports grounds, parents pushing prams and others.
Mr Broadley said there had been informal conversations about one day connecting Waipukurau with Havelock North - but at this stage there are no plans to develop the idea.
"In time that would be ideal but right now the focus is on linking Waipawa and Waipukarau."
Mr Fraser said: "We see it as a means to provide a safe link between Waipukurau and Waipawa, also providing a link for the national cycle way plan."
The tracks would encourage outside visitors to stop and use the pathways en route to Napier/Hastings where their pathways had become a tourist attraction and of economic benefit, he said.