Horse riders want a bridle path to be included in the design for the newly approved four-lane expressway between Ōtaki and norh Levin.
The Kāpiti Equestrian Advocacy group (KEAG) is disappointed there is only talk of a shared pathway beside the expressway (Ō2NL) for walkers and cyclists and is calling all horse riders to act.
"Luckily the Ō2NL is in its infancy in terms of design, but equestrians really need to get active on this so we are not left out of the infrastructure planning and pathway design," said Shelly Warwick, KEAG chairwoman.
"We have been very lucky in Kāpiti with very supportive council staff who see the need for a multi-use facility and connections that enhance all lifestyles on the Kāpiti Coast.
"I believe that with the hard work of people like Ruth Halliday, our representative to council, and the willingness of KCDC staff to work with equestrians, we are becoming the envy of many districts in NZ for our many multi-use pathways and facilities," said Shelly.
"With the exception of a couple of sticking points along the new Kāpiti motorways, we have a continuous bridleway, and this could be the link in the chain for equestrian tourism in the district, which could add lots of dollars to the already $13 million annual economic input to Kāpiti by the equestrian industry."
She said a very brief KEAG survey indicated many would visit Kāpiti to ride the bridleways and beaches if there was accommodation for their horses, adding to the potential for Kāpiti to become an eco-tourism destination.
"We have also advocated and submitted to KCDC's Annual Plan to have a Stride and Ride programme on the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway (PP2O), equal to the $5 million Stride and Ride programme on the [Mackays to Pekapeka Expressway] M2PP.
"This provided vital links from the expressway path to town centres and parks and we would like to see it replicated through Te Horo and Ōtaki. NZTA is only in town once, they won't be back, so we need to make hay while the sun shines," said Shelly.
"The benefits for Ōtaki and Te Horo especially of a continuous cycleway, walkway, bridleway on the Expressway North to Levin is a vital link to our whānau connections in Manakau and north of Manakau, traditionally part of the Ōtaki community."
NZTA said $817 million has been committed to the construction of a four-lane highway from Ōtaki to north of Levin. includes a path for walking and cycling that will run the entire length of the new highway.
The business case process to develop the project includes looking at options for a bridleway to be included, a spokesperson said.