New Makara bridge
Reaching the top of Wellington’s Makara Peak just got easier, with funding secured for a 70-metre swing bridge for the mountain bike park.
The Makara Peak Supporters have raised more than $130,000 to construct a bridge that will stretch across a steep-sided gully and make the 412m Makara Peak more accessible.
They met their fundraising target last week after receiving 262 individual donations, including a large anonymous donation, and support from the Lion Foundation, NZ Community Trust and Wellington Community Trust.
Group spokesman Simon O’Brien said they had been overwhelmed by the support for the bridge with people donating lump sums of a thousand dollars for the project.
‘‘We really appreciate the support and would like to thank everyone who donated.’’
Wellington City Council is expected to finalise building consent in the next two weeks, allowing construction to begin in August.
O’Brien estimated the project would take six weeks to complete.
The suspension bridge will also provide a ‘‘far more enjoyable, accessible, and achievable option’’ for getting to the top.
The main way to get to the top of the Makara Peak is currently an unforgiving ride up the 4WD drive ‘snake charmer’ track or a longer loop through a nearby valley.
This makes it hard for younger mountain bikers and intermediate riders to make it to the summit, O’Brien said.
The bridge construction would be the biggest project in the group’s 18-year history, chairman Simon Kennett said.
‘‘We think it is going to be hugely popular,’’ Kennett said. ’’One of the most popular in the park.’’
His 9-year-old daughter Miro will be just one of the people to benefit from the bridge, he said.
‘‘She is exactly the sort of rider that wouldn’t go to the top [now].’’
‘‘It would be a beautiful thing to get more people to the top of Makara Peak.’’
The funds raised by the group will go directly towards the cost of the bridge including buying materials, paying for labour and expertise.
Any money left over will go to completing the rest of the track.
Makara Peak Supporters chairman Simon Kennett at the site where a new bridge will be built in the mountain bike park.