Kaik­oura gears up to se­cure cy­cle trail and walk fund­ing

Kaikoura Star - - NEWS -

Kaik­oura has a vi­sion to es­tab­lish a na­tion­ally recog­nised cy­cle trail, but after miss­ing out on fund­ing this year, the for­ma­tion of a Trails Trust is on the Christ­mas wish list.

Re­cent an­nounce­ments of fund­ing in­clude 11 clubs across New Zealand, which will re­ceive almost $100,000 from Trail Fund NZ for vol­un­teer-led work.

The lat­est fund­ing is made pos­si­ble by a $700,000 grant from the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion’s Com­mu­nity Con­ser­va­tion Part­ner­ship Fund. The grant is be­ing man­aged by the NZ Out­door Recre­ation Con­sor­tium, which is com­prised of three not- for- profit or­gan­i­sa­tions – Fed­er­ated Moun­tain Clubs, New Zealand Deer­stalk­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion and Trail Fund NZ.

In 2009 cen­tral gov­ern­ment es­tab­lished the New Zealand Cy­cle Trail/Nga Haerenga, and the ‘‘ Great Rides.’’ A to­tal of $80 mil­lion has been made avail­able for th­ese projects.

Mayor Win­ston Gray said the vi­sion for a ‘‘rail trail on steroids’’ is very much in the minds of those push­ing to unite a wider group, in­clud­ing Kaik­oura cy­clists, walk­ers and run­ners, horse rid­ers and tram­pers.

‘‘There’s a good rea­son to get wider fund­ing, be­cause there is a wider group of in­ter­ested par­ties. Cy­clists are look­ing for new trails, new chal­lenges.

‘‘We have sub­mit­ted a Molesworth plan - a walk and bike track that would open up the Clarence - with a bridge over Seymour Stream, ex­tend­ing all the way to Han­mer and the St James walk­way at Lewis Pass,’’ Gray said.

He said this would al­low a trail to po­ten­tially run all the way from St Ar­naud to Kaik­oura, which could in­clude Han­mer Springs as part of a bike jour­ney tak­ing in some re­mote coun­try­side.

‘‘You can ac­cess the Clarence and it is only com­ing down to Kek­erengu that we need own­ers per­mis­sion, but that is just a mat­ter of work­ing through with a group of rep­re­sen­ta­tives,’’ he said.

Kaik­oura Dis­trict Coun­cil plan­ner Matt Hog­gard has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing a Trails Trust project, since it was dis­cov­ered the Kaik­oura Dis­trict Coun­cil ‘‘didn’t meet the cri­te­ria’’ to re­ceive fund­ing for back­coun­try projects and trails.

‘‘We found it was a bit of a closed shop, and that some coun­cils had al­ready put in re­quests for fund­ing,’’ he said.

There’s huge po­ten­tial for the town to de­velop trails, he said

The Trail Fund NZ has said the few ap­pli­cants that were de­clined were pro­vided with feed­back on how to im­prove their ap­pli­ca­tions for re-sub­mis­sion.

While there are many fa­mous and popular walk­ing tracks and tramps in New Zealand, cy­cle trails and ac­cess are re­stricted by na­tional park sta­tus, and the need to get con­ces­sions through and across pri­vate land.

A new cy­cle trail opened in 2011 on the Clutha river is still blocked by ob­jec­tions from land own­ers, with cy­clists forced to take an ex­pen­sive boat de­tour down the river be­tween Alexan­dra and Roxburgh, to con­tinue the Clutha Gold cy­cling and walk­ing trail.

The grants were an­nounced by Trail Fund NZ this month. It will re­ceive almost $100,000 in to­tal to support vol­un­teer- led work in New Zealand’s back­coun­try.

Clubs and trusts from Thames to South­land had just re­ceived word of fund­ing for moun­tain-bike ac­ces­si­ble track main­te­nance, up­grades and sig­nage.

‘‘ Th­ese grants are geared to­wards giv­ing back­coun­try users greater own­er­ship of the fa­cil­i­ties they care pas­sion­ately about,’’ says Trail Fund NZ chair­per­son Ben Wilde. ‘‘It was great to have so many ap­pli­cants keen to take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity and we were pleased to fund or part­ly­fund the majority of the re­quests.

‘‘The fund­ing is go­ing to­wards tracks through­out the coun­try – in­clud­ing Craigieburn in Can­ter­bury, Old Ghost Road on the West Coast and Te Tihi O Ruru and Te Ranga Trail on Rainbow Moun­tain near Ro­torua, to name a few. We look for­ward to see­ing the out­comes of this and hear­ing about the im­prove­ments they’ve made to the back­coun­try ex­pe­ri­ence!’’

The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion was also glad to get such great projects be­ing funded in the first round.

‘‘We’re thrilled to see how well the Con­sor­tium is work­ing and the ef­fort they’ve put into fund­ing qual­ity pro­pos­als,’’ said DOC recre­ation ad­vi­sor Andy Thomp­son.

‘‘The fo­cus of the fund is to main­tain and en­hance our back­coun­try fa­cil­i­ties, rather than build­ing lots of new tracks. It’s ex­cit­ing to see New Zealan­ders en­gag­ing in this new mech­a­nism and how it’s en­abling peo­ple to get out there and look after the places they care so much about. It’s more than we could do on our own.

Suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants in­clude Mo­hik­i­uni- Lyell Back­coun­try Trust, Cas­tle Hill Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion, North Can­ter­bury Cy­cling Club, South­land Moun­tain Bike Club, Ro­torua Moun­tain Bike Club, Thames Moun­tain Bike Club, Moun­tain­bik­ers of Alexan­dra, Queen­stown Moun­tain Bike Club, Buller Cy­cling Club, Moun­tain Bike Trails Trust (Nel­son) and Kauaeranga Moun­tain Bike Trails Trust. See be­low for a full list of re­cip­i­ents, projects and fund­ing.

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