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In March, the council proposed spending $1.2 million on a 3-metre wide concrete cycleway and walkway from Te Awamutu to Kihikihi. Nothing was allowed in the draft budget to extend the Te Awa river ride from the Avantidrome to Hamilton via Mystery Creek. Nor was anything allowed for the Cambridge town belt.
The proposals drew plenty of feedback including 265 formal submissions. Half supported the Te Awamutu to Kihikihi proposal but 100 opposed it with some suggesting that other cycleways be supported instead. Most submitters wanted an increase in cycleways funding across the district.
Given that feedback, the council now looks likely to invest an additional $1.5 million in cycleways and walkways district-wide. If confirmed at the end of June, Waipa’s spending on shared cycleways will be $2.7 million over the next 10 years.
Strategy manager Gary Knighton said the $1.2 million proposed for the Te Awamutu to Kihikihi cycleway had been “put on hold” until a detailed plan for cycling investment on Waipa’s western side had been developed. But he stressed the money had been ring-fenced to be spent in and around Te Awamutu and nearby towns.
Over the next few months, council staff would work with stakeholders to determine how and where best to spend the money and potentially raise additional funds from private funders.
“It’s a case of ensuring we invest in a way that gets us the biggest possible bang for the ratepayer’s buck while having a long-term vision for the cycling and walking network,” Knighton said.
“All options are on the table. What we’d like to encourage are linkages with heritage sites, tourism spots and family destinations like Lake Ngaroto. But there is some work to do yet before any specific routes are proposed and the Te Awamutu to Kihikihi is certainly not off the table.”
In addition to investment in the west, the council has also set aside $1.5 million ($300,000 per year for five years) for the Te Awa river ride. But the money will only be provided on condition that the next stage of the river ride is completed between Hamilton and Cambridge, or alternatively that building will begin at the Avantidrome.
The investment in cycleways will be confirmed when the draft 10-Year Plan is signed off by council at the end of this month.
All media enquiries, contact Jeanette Tyrrell 027 507 7599