A safe walking and cycling link between Waipu township and the popular beach spot at the Cove will be a step closer, with the installation of a $170,000 bridge about to get under way.
By April, Waipu Cycle and Walkway Group will have completed a 2.5 kilometre gravel track linking the township out to Riverview Place, including a bridge across Waionehu Stream. This first stage formed part of the 10-kilometre trail they hoped to build out to Waipu Cove Beach, with consultation on stages 2 and 3 to begin this year.
Trustee Angela Stolwerk said the main purpose of the 2.5-metre wide track was safety for the many people who currently walked and cycled along the road shoulder. It had taken the community group five years of fundraising and planning to get the track to this point.
"There's already 1.5 kilometres done. It's not finished, but it is useable with the bridge upcoming, more of the trail, and landscaping," Ms Stolwerk said.
The current plan was a collaboration between the trust, the community and Whangarei District Council.
Ward councillor Phil Halse said the Waipu Cycle and Walkway Group had secured a number of grants and pledges of material and services.
Cove Rd farmers Don and Melanie Mitchell had offered an easement over their land, WDC funded a scoping report, and there had been significant grants from Transpower's Community Care Fund, the Lotteries Foundation, Foundation North and Waipu's Alex McLean Trust.
WDC also allocated $105,000 to the $290,000 Stage One of the trail, under its 2015/16 Annual Plan.
"This is a major milestone for the [group], providing what is currently a missing link between Waipu and Waipu Cove," Cr Halse said.