District Council is getting the early legwork under way on the Te Awamutu–Ngā Roto – Pirongia cycleway project, with land access agreements and the first-stage survey and design work well advanced.
The first stage of the Te Awamutu–Ngā Roto–Pirongia cycleway is from Te Awamutu to Lake Ngā Roto and Sing Rd, and will traverse the countryside to make a recreational cycle route for residents and visitors.
Council group manager service delivery Dawn Inglis said the council had spent $941,000 on securing legal access agreements for about 70 per cent of the cycleway route and completing the preliminary route survey and cycleway design.
"We're making sure to dot the i's and cross the t's in these early stages as these agreements provide certainty of access for construction and operation of the cycleway in the future. This does take some time, but we know this will be an amazing asset our community will love and enjoy for years to come."
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"We still have some agreements to finalise for the rest of the section, but are hopeful to be under way with the first construction phase in 2022."
The spend so far has consisted of costs relating to staff and consultants time in relation to property, investigation and design. The bulk of the spend took place in the 2018-19 financial year at about $370,000 when most of the design and investigation work was progressed.
Council asked the community what their preferred route option was for the second stage of the cycleway during the 2021-31 long-term plan consultation.
Sixty-six per cent of respondents preferred the option that allowed for an off-road cycleway that would connect across Macky Access Rd and on to Pirongia Village; 17 per cent preferred other options that would use existing roads.
Inglis said she was pleased the majority of respondents agreed with the council's preferred option for the recreational pathway, which would show visitors a new and often-unseen part of the district.
"An off-road cycleway will mean users will be able to really enjoy the country air and beautiful pastures and fields that our amazing rural communities work so hard to maintain. The potential views to Mt Pirongia and of Lake Ngā Roto are absolutely stunning."
The total budget for the cycleway is $9.64m, consisting of $5.28m for the first stage between Te Awamutu to Ngā Roto and $4.36m for the second stage between Ngā Roto to Pirongia. Council is also developing a community funding strategy to provide $3,275,832 for the cycleway through external contributions by 2023-24.