Natalie Akoorie

Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

Residents upset by cycleway

Couple say 'pretty awful' boardwalk obscures view of lake and will hit their property value.

Karen Fleming says her view has been ruined by the elevated part of the cycleway. Photo /Christine Cornege
Karen Fleming says her view has been ruined by the elevated part of the cycleway. Photo /Christine Cornege

A charitable trust whose members include Olympic gold medallists Rob Waddell and Sarah Ulmer has upset landowners whose view of Lake Karapiro is now obscured by a cycleway meant for the community.

Karen Fleming and Peter Johnson say the Te Awa River Ride Charitable Trust has ruined the view from their home across the lake, south of Cambridge, by elevating a section of the cycleway for safety.

Ms Fleming called the wooden boardwalk and 1.2m-high fence with wire mesh ugly and obtrusive and said when they complained to the trust, she was told they could pay $20,000 to have it lowered.

The couple built their house on Maungatautari Rd near Lake Karapiro Domain 12 years ago and raised it up to get 180-degree views of the lake.

But now only vegetation on the opposite banks of the lake can be seen over the 80m section of cycleway where a narrow verge prevented continuation of the concrete pathway.

The couple believe the blocked view will hurt the value of their property.

"We think it's pretty awful. We support it going through; however, what we're upset about is that our views are going."

The trust was established in August 2010 to spearhead the 70km riverside cycleway from Ngaruawahia through Hamilton and Cambridge to Lake Karapiro and Horahora.

Waddell said he sympathised with the couple's concerns but when the trustees found out about the situation "they put the brakes on it" and looked at what they could do but couldn't resolve the issue.

They felt they did everything they could. He said unfortunately it wasn't the couple's land and the cycleway was for the whole community to enjoy.

"It's community money and we are responsible for that."

Trustee Simon Perry said it was disappointing to upset even one resident.

"But the reality here is we're fully funding this section of the cycleway and we're not asking for any ratepayer funding and there's a limit to what we can fund in terms of improvements to satisfy individual members of the community."

Project general manager Jennifer Palmer said the trust halted construction for three weeks to sort out the issue, and had construction company Livingstone Builders source a quote for a glass balustrade, but this was also declined by the couple.

"It's important to remember that we have to make the cycleway as safe as possible."

Ms Palmer said it was safer to have that section slightly above ground to give cyclists added protection from traffic and prevent people parking on it.

The 2km Karapiro section cost $2 million to build and funding came from community grants.

The ride is not part of the country's 19 cycle trails set up by the Government.

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