3 May 2016
Planning work has begun in earnest on a series of cycleways and walkways linking Te Awamutu, Kihikihi and Pirongia.
Waipa District Council has agreed to invest $1.2 million on three separate trails in the 2016/17 financial year. The recommendations were developed by a Waipa-wide community stakeholder group, working alongside council staff.
Councillors today approved approximately $800,000 towards the construction of a 2.5-3-metre, 19km Te Awamutu to Pirongia cycleway, subject to further investigation and confirmation of costs. If construction of the full trail is not feasible, a section connecting Te Awamutu to Lake Ngaroto will kick off the project.
A further $300,000 was approved to build a 2.5-metre, 4km easy-riding trail from Te Awamutu to Kihikihi. Some of that money would be used to ensure safe road crossings, including at Golf Road.
The remaining $100,000 has been tagged for investigations into a Te Awamutu to Pirongia trail, including the identification of a route and liaison with local land-owners.
The money will be spent in the 2016/17 financial year.
Mayor Jim Mylchreest stressed that while the work would follow on from projects already completed in and around Cambridge, the strategy was Waipa-wide.
“This is about looking ahead and ensuring that, over time, we’ve got a fantastic network of cycleways and walkways across the whole of Waipa.”
Over time the council aimed to see a “complete connection” between Kihikihi to Pirongia but Mylchreest stressed not everything could be done at once. Local people had already offered to help fundraise and add to the $1.2 million already available.
“We know there’s a lot of support for cycleways and walkways and I understand people want to see physical work start. But taking the time to work with the community and thrash out how best to spend the money we have has meant we’ve come up with the best outcome,” he said.
“This will be a staged process and the group has thought carefully about where to invest the money and when. Now it’s a case of getting on with it so the community can benefit as quickly as possible. If there’s some initiatives around private fundraising, we’d be thrilled about that and would support it in whatever way we could.”
Over time cycleways and walkways would help showcase Waipa including its historic places, by connecting people, towns and features, he said.
“Cambridge has a very good cycling network including in the Cambridge town belt. If we get our strategy and investment priorities right district-wide, we can grow Waipa’s reputation as a very good cycling destination. There are economic and other benefits associated with that and Waipa is well poised to leverage those.”
For a copy of the Waipa District Cycling Trails Strategic Framework go to www.waipadc.govt.nz
Media enquiries, contact Jeanette Tyrrell (on behalf of Council) 027 5077 599