Costly fix for track re­pairs

Havelock North Village Press - - News -

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.

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