Trail a boost for re­gion

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By STEVE ED­WARDS

Up to 15,000 peo­ple used the Hau­raki Rail Trail in Jan­uary.

Hau­raki mayor and trail trust mem­ber John Tregidga said at the re­cent Mata­mata- Pi­ako District Coun­cil meet­ing that the cy­cle­way, which opened in May, was a ‘‘good news story’’ for the re­gion.

In­clud­ing links be­tween Thames, Paeroa, Waikino and Te Aroha, he said it was ranked sec­ond-best cy­cle trail in New Zealand (be­hind Otago).

Es­ti­mates pre­dict 45,000 to 65,000 users by year five, and ‘‘di­rect econ- omic ben­e­fit’’ of $9 mil­lion to $16m.

Over­seen by the trust, build­ing of the Hau­raki trail kicked off through a $4m Government grant, sup­ported by con­tri­bu­tions from Hau­raki, Mata­mata- Pi­ako and ThamesCoro­man­del district coun­cils.

Mr Tregidga said a Waihi- toWaikino link was be­ing signed off, while a fea­si­bil­ity study was be­ing done for a stretch from Thames to Ka­iaua/Mi­randa. The Waikino leg will be com­pleted by next sum­mer.

Mr Tregidga said the Ka­iaua stretch was a ‘‘big ticket item’’ cost­ing about $3.5m.

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