Al­ter­na­tive to track fundraiser

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR BODY - RICHARD MAYS

The re­gion’s health char­i­ties have lost as much as $60,000 over the last cou­ple of years since a ma­jor com­mu­nity fundraiser came off the tracks.

In early 2016, af­ter 21 years, Ki­wirail turned the light out on the Woodville Lions’ pop­u­lar 10-kilo­me­tre Track and Tun­nel walk from the lime quarry near the Bal­lance Bridge to the Ash­hurst Do­main, cit­ing health and safety con­cerns.

Woodville Lions com­mu­ni­ca­tion team leader War­ren Jones said the clo­sure had badly im­pacted on the club’s health-re­lated char­i­ties, which included Aro­hanui Hospice and St John’s Am­bu­lance.

In its 21 years, Track and Tun­nel had raised over $300,000 for re­gional health and com­mu­nity projects.

As many as 24,000 peo­ple had taken in the spectacular and al­ter­nate views of the gorge along the route with its 15 bridges and two long tun­nels, and there had only been three mi­nor in­jury in­ci­dents in that time.

The last few walks had each raised around $30,000, and the hospice had re­ceived a cheque for $8000 in a share of pro­ceeds from the event in 2015.

Jones said ne­go­ti­a­tions with Ki­wirail were con­tin­u­ing over the fu­ture of the walk, but had been held up by the rail com­pany pri­ori­tis­ing the re­pair of the Pic­ton to Kaik­oura line fol­low­ing last year’s 7.8 mag­ni­tude earth­quake.

In the mean­time, the club had come up with a re­place­ment fundraiser.

Mem­bers had been col­lect­ing op­er­a­tional tools and farm equip­ment, garden im­ple­ments, fur­ni­ture, house­hold goods, fur­nish­ings and ap­pli­ances, along with any man­u­fac­turer’s sur­plus lines, for a mon­ster garage sale to be held on Satur­day, June 10 in the Woodville Events Cen­tre.

‘‘While all our hopes and thoughts are for a suc­cess­ful [Track and Tun­nel] out­come, re­al­ity is that neg­a­tive im­pacts from the with­drawal of the project have hit our club quite badly, so the mon­ster garage sale is a bid to again step up and serve our com­mu­nity, ’’ Jones said.

Still hope­ful that Track and Tun­nel will be re­stored, the club’s act­ing pres­i­dent Ste­wart Sin­clair said there had been a good re­sponse to the garage sale project, and there were al­ready plans to make it an an­nual event.

The club is also in­ves­ti­gat­ing other fundrais­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/FAIR­FAX NZ

Walk­ers pause for food and drink dur­ing the Woodville Lions Manawatu Gorge Track & Tun­nel walk.

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