New Makara bridge

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT - LUCY SWINNEN

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.

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