Ex­tend cy­cle trail sooner than 2020

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By STEVE ED­WARDS

While wel­com­ing a dis­trict coun­cil decision to ex­tend Hau­raki Rail Trail from Te Aroha to Mata­mata, the man­ager of the Mata­mata Pub­lic Re­la­tions As­so­ci­a­tion says she would like to see it hap­pen sooner rather than wait­ing six years.

‘‘Due to the high level of vis­i­tors it would be de­sir­able to have it done by an ear­lier date like 2016,’’ Sue Whit­ing said.

‘‘ We’ve got the max­imise that.’’

With Hob­biton gen­er­at­ing a ‘‘stag­ger­ing’’ $37 mil­lion in tourism, she said cy­cling tourism through the trail could eas­ily gain the Mata­mata area $5 mil­lion a year.

Mata­mata would also ben­e­fit from the em­ploy­ment gained through the con­struc­tion of the trail, she said.

In its draft long- term plan, Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil said the cy­cle­way ex­ten­sion, via Manawaru and Tower Rd, will cost an es­ti­mated $4 mil­lion.

The coun­cil is sug­gest­ing de­vel­op­ing the Te Aroha to Mata­mata link over two fi­nan­cial years (2018/2019 and 2019/2020).

‘‘This helps spread the costs and means smaller rate in­creases in­stead of one larger one, which will help to smooth rate in­creases over time,’’ coun­cil said in the draft plan.

‘‘While the project is a few years away, we’ve had to con­sider the rail trail along­side a num­ber of com­pet­ing pri­or­i­ties and our goal



of keep­ing rates af­ford­able.

‘‘ Com­plet­ing the cy­cle trail ear­lier would mean ei­ther larger in­creases in rates in the first few years of our long-term plan or de­fer­ring other ‘ nice to have projects’ to a later date.’’

The ex­ten­sion would be rated for across the dis­trict.

Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil has con­trib­uted $500,000 for con­struc­tion of the Paeroa to Te Aroha leg. The rail trail also in­cludes Waihi and Thames.

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