Work on the proposed Waipā Heritage Cycleway from Lake Ngā Roto to Pirongia has just started and three route options are now open for feedback.
The first part of the route will reach from Te Awamutu to Lake Ngā Roto and the council is working on securing agreements with landowners. The proposed new cycling connection is included in Waipā District Council's draft Long-Term Plan as the second stage of a bigger 21.4km cycling route.
Council's preferred route has more path off-road than the other two options. It would generally see cyclists riding 13.1 kilometres from Lake Ngā Roto, along Sing Rd, Paterangi Road, Mackay Access Rd, Waiare Rd, Bird Rd and across the Mangapiko Stream into Pirongia.
Along the way, cyclists would have views of Mt Pirongia and the Waiari Pa, also passing the military memorial on Bird Rd. The cycleway would also connect to Pirongia close to the entrance of Matakitaki Pa.
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Group manager service delivery Dawn Inglis says: "The proposed route ticks a number of criteria, including the opportunity for Waipā to show cultural and heritage sites. It would help connect two key Waipā communities and provide health and social wellbeing benefits.
If the route goes ahead, most of it would be on a purpose-built cycle path on publicly-owned road reserve. However, just under 4km of the proposed route would need to cross private property – work with landowners is only just beginning.
"We would have to negotiate access to that privately-owned land and we have only had very preliminary discussions with a couple of landowners. So there is a lot of work to do, but we're hopeful of being able to reach solutions that work for everyone," Inglis said.
The estimated cost of the stage two cycling connection between Lake Ngā Roto and Pironiga is $4.3 million. To lessen the burden on ratepayers, Council is anticipating around $3.2m would need to be raised privately.
"There are definitely some challenges ahead but we think this is a proposal worth pursuing. We're certainly keen to hear feedback from the community about what people think. We are already working alongside a committed and passionate stakeholder group and that makes a big difference."
Feedback on the council's draft Long-Term Plan closes today - April 27 - at 5pm. To make a comment on the proposed cycleway or on other proposals click here.