Rail trail extension interest shown
Businesses are weighing up the benefits of being part of the planned Hauraki Rail Trail extension from Te Aroha to Matamata.
About 60 people turned out to hear success stories from neighbouring trail operators at a meeting held at the Matamata Civic Centre.
Matamata-Piako mayor Jan Barnes said people in the accommodation, equine and farming industries were among those who attended, to hear the rail trail’s chief executive Diane Drummond speak about the potential business opportunities.
A short presentation from Hamilton Waikato Tourism chief executive Jason Dawson was also made.
‘‘We had some people already on the ground, on the rail trail as part of the Paeroa i-Site, involved in bike hire, for example, come along too.
‘‘Diane spoke about encouraging businesses to think about their point of difference, what services could they offer that would be different or an advantage to those using the trail.
‘‘Jason have some really good figures on what the advantages could be for the district too.’’
Barnes said she was pleased people from all three of the district’s towns, Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Aroha came along to hear the speakers.
‘‘Near Morrinsville, you have the Te Miro bike park which is looking at doing some new things around mountain biking and then there’s the Herd of Cows? street art project as well which is interested.
‘‘So even though the extension is from Te Aroha or Matamata, it’s not just about those two towns, it’s about the whole district and how it can benefit.’’
The rail trail extension was awarded $3.4 million from Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis earlier this year.
It was the second major investment to be made through the Nga¯ Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail Enhancement and Extension Fund.