A $1.3 million tree-lined boardwalk could be installed beside a Havelock North road to give walkers and cyclists better and safer access to Te Mata Park.
Hastings District Council is proposing a boardwalk adjacent to Tauroa Reserve, which will require the removal of up to 30 mature, exotic trees. It says it would replace the mainly pines with nearly 300 natives.
A report on the Tauroa Walkway proposal will be presented to Hastings District councillors at a meeting on February 11.
The report says the narrow road and corner on this stretch of Tauroa Valley Rd has been a safety risk for motorists, walkers and cyclists, and the shared walking and cycling link would provide a practical off-road alternative route.
At 3m wide to accommodate pedestrians and bikers, the boardwalk (comprising sections of concrete and sections of timber) would include handrails and be located between the Chambers carpark on Tauroa Rd at the base of Te Mata Park and Tokomaru Drive.
Tauroa Care Group member Michelle Hicks said the group was aware of plans to remove the trees, and had had input into how that work was carried out, and looked forward to working together with the council on the project.
As well as making room for the boardwalk, the removal will safeguard against future risks the trees could cause to pedestrians and cyclists, as well as the structure, when they start to fail with age.
Council transportation manager Jag Pannu said the boardwalk would provide a much safer off-road walking and cycling option.
The first stage of the project was estimated to cost about $1.3m, Pannu said.
Te Mata Park Trust spokeswoman Emma Buttle said the trust was in support of the new boardwalk which would encourage people to walk or ride to Te Mata Park safely.
"It will substantially enhance safety on an increasingly busy stretch of road, and also improve access for all to reach our iconic park without the use of motorised transport."
If approved, the tree removal work would begin on Monday, February 15, and run for one to two weeks, depending on weather conditions, after which the first stage of the boardwalk construction would start with the building of concrete footpaths.
This would be followed by building the off-road boardwalk, with the project expected to be completed at the end of May.
Traffic management would be in place on Tauroa Rd (from Tokomaru Drive to Tauroa Valley Rd), and the road may be down to one lane at times during the project.
There will be short-term stoppages of traffic along this section of Tauroa Rd for about five minutes at a time while trees are being removed.
The Tauroa Reserve will also need to be temporarily closed at various stages during the works.