Mountain bike trails part of park plans

By Victoria White

1 comment
IMPROVED: Te Mata Park Trust Board chairman Bruno Chambers at the summit, one of the areas marked for improvement in the board's draft 10-year management plan. PHOTO/FILE
IMPROVED: Te Mata Park Trust Board chairman Bruno Chambers at the summit, one of the areas marked for improvement in the board's draft 10-year management plan. PHOTO/FILE

Sipping a long black on a picnic rug while watching local talent perform at the Te Mata Peak amphitheatre could one day be a reality.

The Peak's trust board this week released the final draft of its 10-year management plan for the park, which proposes improvements to cater for increasing visitor numbers - including carparking, an amenities hub, an amphitheatre and the addition of 8.5km of mountain-biking trails.

The board is encouraging community feedback on the plan, with comments welcomed before Friday, April 29.

As well as outlining improvements, the plan also responds to "long-standing" community concerns on aspects of the park's amenities and management, and the challenges faced by the trust with increasing popularity and use of the park.

Chairman Bruno Chambers said they had made the tough decision last year not to proceed with the proposed $4.3 million visitor and education centre project.

It was a hard call to make he said, partly because the "underlying drivers" were still there, including a lack of amenities and interpretive information, with the growing pressures of visitor numbers.

"So we've committed ourselves to developing a broader-scale vision for the park. We know locals adore the park for its wild open spaces and special character and don't want it spoilt.

"But they also want practical amenities, to learn more about the park, for it to be carefully and actively managed, and to know it is being protected and future-proofed.

"This management plan lays out what the trust believes needs to be put in place to deliver on those community priorities."

Improvements include turning the main gates carpark into the "heart of the park" with a hub of amenities including toilets, information, drinking water and the capacity for a coffee vendor. Concept designs include more parking, picnic areas, an informal amphitheatre for public use, and a short loop walking track for those with limited mobility.

The summit was also a focus area, with improvement to car parking, hard landscaping, viewing areas and information displays.

A community consultation process held late last year asked users to identify concerns and suggestions for the improvement of the park, and received over 660 responses. Improvements would address issues identified by respondents, such as lack of amenities, the condition and range of paths and tracks, quality of signs and information, and the prevalence of dog poo in the park.

A focus was also ensuring the park's "unique landscape and significant cultural and environmental heritage" were carefully protected for generations to come.

The plan will be formally adopted in early May.

-Printed copies of the draft Te Mata Park Management Plan are available at Hastings District Council, Hawke's Bay Regional Council, Napier City Council, Flaxmere Library, Hastings Library, Havelock North Library, and Havelock North Community Centre. It is also available on the park's website at tematapark.co.nz.

-Community feedback should be sent by email, by Friday, April 29, to:

info@tematapark.co.nz.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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