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Waipa District Council wants to build a 3-meter wide, 4km concrete cycleway/walkway to link both towns.
Construction of the cycleway has been tentatively planned for 2016/2017. If it goes ahead, the $1.2 million facility would be paid for by a loan, paid off by ratepayers over 20 years.
The cycleway is one of a small number of community projects being supported by the Council as part of its draft 10-Year Plan. The plan, to be formally released for public comment in March, outlines what the council intends spending money on over the next decade.
Most of the proposed spending is taken up with core services including upgrades to water infrastructure, roads and community facilities to support the district’s growth. The proposed cycleway is one of a small number of community projects being considered, alongside a new museum for Te Awamutu, a pool upgrade for Cambridge and the development of Waipuke Park at Lake Karapiro.
Prior to Christmas, the council asked the community for early feedback on potential cycleway plans, including an easy-riding metal route from Te Awamutu to Pirongia, contributing funds to the Cambridge green belt cycleway and contributing funds to help extend the Te Awa river ride from the Avantidrome to Hamilton via Mystery Creek.
Feedback indicated very strong support for cycleways in the district, but people were split over which cycleway should be supported first.
Mayor Jim Mylchreest said there was a feeling among councillors that any additional spending on cycleways should be on the Te Awamutu side of the district.
“We had initially considered spending more money on cycleways because there is such strong support for them and because they are a wonderful community facility,” he said.
“But we have had to look very hard at our budgets and prioritise where the money must go and at this stage, the Te Awamutu to Kihikihi route is what we’re supporting. If people have other views, I’d strongly encourage them to make submissions to the draft 10-Year Plan so we can hear and consider them before final decisions are made.”
Mr Mylchreest noted the government announcement last week which saw an additional $37 million going into cycleways across the country, including the Ngaruawahia to Hamilton section of Te Awa.
“There may be an expectation that local councils will also contribute in some way to major cycleways and that’s something we need to consider before final decisions are made.”
Mr Mylchreest said the council would continue to look for other ways to pay for and extend Waipa’s cycleways which did not impose a cost on ratepayers.
All media enquiries, contact Jeanette Tyrrell (on behalf of council) 027 507 7599