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