Com­mu­nity push reaps $150,000 for cy­cle trail work

Te Puke Times - - RURAL NEWS & VIEWS -

The willing­ness of vol­un­teers has been cred­ited for the in­vest­ment of $150,000 in the Paen­garoa to Ro­toiti cy­cle trail.

New Zealand Trans­port Agency has given the money and the cy­cle trail will pro­vide an im­por­tant link in the de­vel­op­ment of the Tau­ranga to Ro­torua cy­cle­way.

The fund­ing fol­lows a com­mu­nity work­ing day in Septem­ber or­gan­ised by the West­ern Bay of Plenty Dis­trict Coun­cil and the Bay of Plenty Char­i­ta­ble Trails Trust to be­gin clear­ing an over­grown con­nect­ing sec­tion through the Roy­don Downs Scenic Re­serve.

The link will en­able cy­clists to avoid us­ing a busy sec­tion of SH33 and, when com­pleted, the trail to Ro­torua will form part of the Bay of Plenty’s net­work of cy­cle trails and the New Zealand Cy­cle Trail net­work.

West­ern Bay of Plenty Dis­trict Coun­cil project co­or­di­na­tor Ge­off Can­ham is de­lighted the fund­ing has been ap­proved and at­tributes it to the suc­cess of the work­ing bee to which more than 90 peo­ple vol­un­teered their ef­fort.

“I have no doubt this fund­ing is a re­sult of the Paen­garoa com­mu­nity’s lead­er­ship and mas­sive vol­un­tary ef­fort,” says Ge­off.

“The fund­ing is needed to sur­face the fi­nal trail through the bush area and pro­vide some trail con­struc­tion works. Con­ver­sa­tions are un­der way with lo­cal iwi for trail nam­ing and in­ter­pre­tive works to con­vey the val­ues and his­tory of the area as a fea­ture of the ride.”

The re­serve is a bush area be­tween the West­ern Bay and Ro­torua Lakes dis­tricts and con­nects the trail through beau­ti­ful na­tive bush from Paen­garoa into the lakes area north of Okere, with cy­clists able to cy­cle into Okere and, in the fu­ture, to Ro­torua, or back to Pa­pamoa.

Paen­garoa Vol­un­teers’ leader Marty Robin­son has been work­ing with NZTA and the lo­cal com­mu­nity to achieve the trail link to get cy­clists off the state high­way.

“We are su­per ex­cited to have news that the sur­fac­ing and bridge work on the Paen­garoa to Okere falls link is go­ing ahead. I thank West­ern Bay of Plenty Dis­trict Coun­cil and the Trans­port Agency for help­ing us make this project go from an idea to a re­al­ity.

“We see many ben­e­fits com­ing from this heart­land trail, both to our lo­cal com­mu­nity through eco­nomic and ac­tive out­comes and to the wider com­mu­nity via a safer cy­cling route tak­ing tour­ing cy­clists and oth­ers off State High­way 33.”

Trans­port Agency project man­ager Jonathan Ken­nett says the hours achieved at the com­mu­nity day con­trib­uted to NZTA’s fund­ing de­ci­sion.

“Cur­rently peo­ple can cy­cle from Pa­pamoa to Paen­garoa and this new link will join the fu­ture trail to Ro­torua from Okere Falls. Ul­ti­mately there will a con­nec­tion through Tau­ranga to Waihi Beach. One day peo­ple will be able to cy­cle from Auck­land to Ro­torua as part of the New Zealand Cy­cle Net­work.”

The Okere Falls to Paen­garoa trail is mainly on lo­cal roads and the bush sec­tion is cur­rently an un­sur­faced trail and, un­til sur­faced, is only suit­able for moun­tain bikes.

Start­ing at Okere Falls, it fol­lows State High­way 33, Ma­niatutu Rd, Lichen­stein Rd, through the new bush sec­tion in the Roy­don Downs Re­serve and back via Ridge Road, Roy­den Downs Rd and Old Coach Rd to Paen­garoa.

The trail has a gravel sur­face for about 10km with stun­ning views to the off­shore is­lands and Bay of Plenty coast. Along the way are the Paen­garoa cafes, the Comvita Vis­i­tor Cen­tre, with on­ward op­tions to Pa¯pa¯moa Beach or Maketu¯.

Work will be­gin this sum­mer and the trail con­nec­tion is ex­pected to be com­pleted by Fe­bru­ary 2019.

I have no doubt this fund­ing is a re­sult of the Paen­garoa com­mu­nity’s lead­er­ship and mas­sive ef­fort.’ vol­un­tary

GE­OFF CAN­HAM West­ern Bay of Plenty Dis­trict Coun­cil project co-or­di­na­tor

There was a work­ing bee last Septem­ber to be­gin clear­ing an over­grown con­nec­tion through the Roy­don Downs Scenic Re­serve be­tween Paen­garoa and Okere that will be part of the West­ern Bay to Ro­torua cy­cle­way.

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