Horses and walkers to go separate ways
Cyclists, walkers and their dogs will be barred from passing the stables around the back of the Awapuni Racecourse this summer.
The Palmerston North City Council has started work extending the Mangaone Stream pathway along the waterway so users do not have to cross privately-owned racecourse land.
Council leisure assets officer Brian Way said the move would overcome safety concerns about conflicts between pathway users, especially those ignoring the early morning restrictions, and horses being exercised near the stables.
Racing at Awapuni Combined Enterprise chief executive Alasdair Robertson said public use of the racecourse lane had been tolerated, but he was pleased the council was making the shift.
‘‘The interaction between horses and people at times has been an issue.’’
While there were signs out restricting public hours of use, ‘‘people just go charging through’’, he said.
The rules were that dogs should be on a leash through the racecourse area, and there was no access through the racecourse between 5am and 9am daily.
People were asked to ensure dogs were under control at all times and did not disturb livestock.
Safety concerns around the racecourse were heightened in 2007, when two horses bolted and made it out on to Pioneer High-
‘‘The interaction between horses and people at times has been an issue’’ Alasdair Robertson
way where one collided with a car, killing the driver, Chris Nicols.
The racecourse also had plans to increase the number of horses training at Awapuni from about 310 to 450 as part of its five-year master plan.
Way said it was proving to be quite a big job to clear the area for the pathway.
‘‘It was a bit of a jungle down there, overgrown and with blackberry growing wild.’’
Some preparatory mulching and spraying had been carried out.
The goal was to have the new link ready for use some time this summer.
The work was being paid for from a $71,000 budget for walkways.
Way said the pathway could be extended further along the Mangaone Stream so people could follow it all the way down to the Manawatu River.
Work has started on a new piece of walkway along the Mangaone Stream at the back of the Awapuni racecourse.