The trust charged with overseeing Te Mata Park came under fire for past issues involving the Craggy Range track while presenting its vision for the future yesterday.
The 2.4km walking track up the eastern face of Te Mata Peak was the "elephant in the room" yesterday when the Te Mata Park Trust Board presented its future vision to the Hawke's Bay Regional Council environment and services committee.
As the first public time the board had spoken before the council since the track was constructed last year, chairman Mike Devonshire faced questioning about the trust's involvement in the track, the process to it being constructed, and its stance on the planned removal of the zigzag track.
He said while the board supported Craggy Range's stance on removing it, the trust was feeling the pressure from the public about having access along the eastern face of the peak, along with demand for more access points into the park.
There has also been an appeal to allow the Craggy Range track to remain. Councillors were told the winery was "clear" about removing the track, however the process to do so would be as arduous as the process to build it.
As well as discussion about the track's future, Mr Devonshire took the committee through plans for the future of the park.
The trust was very wary of ensuring it preserved the values of the area while providing the recreational, and educational opportunities which brought locals and tourists to the park.
"The fact of the matter is we're getting more and more pressure on our park ... and we've got to be protecting and enhancing what we've got without destroying it.
"We're not at breaking point but it would be very good for us to have a bit of extra land to protect it over the next 50, 60, 70 years."
So, part of the vision included purchasing 8ha of land near the peak's existing main carpark. The board had recently entered into an agreement to purchase this, however it was looking for financial support to do so - including from the council.
This land would be "the first since 1927 that we will look to add to the park, it's quite an exciting development to us".
Although yesterday was an informal discussion, councillors questioned how it fitted with their core functions, and how much in funds remained with the trust from previous council funding.
As well as the purchase and planning of new land adjacent to the park, the trust's 2018 project priorities included connectivity of tracks, and ensuring safe access for vehicles and pedestrians and the future of the carpark at the summit.
The "No 2 priorities" were a forestry plan, including reforestation, and establishment of a capital fund.