Trail a boost for region
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.