Costly fix for track repairs
Hastings District Council consultants could be paid $500,000 for their opinions on what to do with Te Mata Peak’s controversial Craggy Range walking track.
Ratepayer Stuart Perry, who uncovered the figure with an Official Information Act request, says it is potentially a gross waste of public funds. The track, up the eastern side of the mountain, has been controversial since it began, with some describing it as scar on the landscape.
Local iwi Nga¯ ti Kahungunu, in particular, was vocal in opposing the path. They are working with Craggy Range winery on an alternative.
Perry said the cost of consultants was a lot more than he suspected.
He also asked the council how much it would cost to remove the track and relocate it.
In its response, council said removing it was estimated to cost $200,000. One option is estimated to cost $280,000 to $300,000, with less expensive options also being considered.
“It’s a million dollars’ worth of unbudgeted activity,” Perry said. “And there is no mandate from the ratepayers to become involved.”
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the estimated $500,000 might not all come out of the public purse.
“The funding sources are still to be worked through and there may be opportunities to use external funding.” She said Te Mata Peak was an outstanding natural landscape, loved by the community.
“Council is committed to getting this process right and ensuring the information from the project team’s expert consultants is of the highest standard.” Craggy Range declined to comment.