Coun­cil back-ped­als on cy­cle­way

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By STEVE ED­WARDS

Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil has put the brakes on a sug­gested ex­ten­sion to the Hau­raki Rail Trail from Te Aroha to Mata­mata.

Te Aroha Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Shaun O’Neill along with the Mata­mata Pub­lic Re­la­tions As­so­ci­a­tion’s Sue Whit­ing asked the coun­cil for $535,000 for a 36km leg, run­ning along Stan­ley Rd/Manawaru Rd/ Tower Rd, on road re­serve owned by the lo­cal author­ity.

To save about $150,000 through an ar­range­ment to use top­soil from the cy­cle­way for the Tui Mine clean-up in Te Aroha, Mr O’Neill wanted the project to be un­der­taken in the next six months.

MPDC con­trib­uted $500,000 from gen­eral rates for the Paeroa to Te Aroha leg, which cost $1.3m.

A staff re­port on the Te Aroha to Mata­mata ex­ten­sion looked at a va­ri­ety of is­sues in­clud- ing main­te­nance costs, re­source gov­er­nance, land use and safety.

Cor­po­rate and le­gal ser­vices man­ager Michelle Hawthorne said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion found ‘‘noth­ing that is in­sur­mount­able’’.

The re­port said the coun­cil may wish to con­sider fund­ing a de­tailed in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­clud­ing eco­nomic anal­y­sis ($5000), a safety study ($15,000), de­tailed cost­ings ($5000) and con­sul­ta­tion ($5000).

Mayor Hugh Ver­coe said the coun­cil is be­ing ‘‘pushed into a fast-track de­ci­sion’’ to take ad­van­tage of the Tui Mine top­soil ar­range­ment. ‘‘The value will still be there’’.

Deputy Mayor Jan Barnes felt the coun­cil should con­sult with the pub­lic on the is­sue. ‘‘It does con­nect our dis­trict.’’

The coun­cil will then ‘‘have the num­bers’’ from the first full sum­mer of op­er­a­tion of the ex­ist­ing trail, he said.

In a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion, the coun­cil voted to de­fer the item for con­sid­er­a­tion for in­clu­sion

con­sent, in the 2013/2014 an­nual plan. Shaun O’Neill said the tim­ing is per­fect. ‘‘With the pro­mo­tion the dis­trict will re­ceive via Hob­biton and the cy­cle­way, tourists are go­ing to be com­ing to our dis­trict wether we like it or not.

The cy­cle­way is a great way to link the dis­trict’s towns and at­trac­tions and the longer we can get peo­ple to stay in our dis­trict the bet­ter the dis­trict will do.’’

Mr O’Neill said while he firmly be­lieves that now is the time to ex­tend the cy­cle­way, he re­spects that it is coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to make.

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