Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is pleased that the proposal for a new cycle trail in Hawke’s Bay has been given approval by the Ministry of Tourism to move to the feasibility stage.
The application was submitted by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and its business unit Venture Hawke’s Bay with the support of Hawke’s Bay MPs, local Councils, and community groups including the Rotary Pathways Trusts.
It identified 3 themed routes which include a wineries trail and a water trail along with the landscapes trail which is the trail selected to go to the feasibility study stage. The title used in the proposal is “Heretaunga Ararau: Land of a Hundred Pathways” to reflect that the Heretaunga Plains are known in Mâori lore as the land of a hundred pathways.
The proposed “Landscape” cycle route is one of 13 cycle trails around the country which have been successful in being considered for an allocation of the Prime Minister’s $50 million fund for a national cycle network. There were 54 applications in total.
The new trail is proposed to go through the Tukituki Valley and out to Te Awanga and Haumoana, and integrate with existing pathways.
“It’s gratifying to get through to the feasibility stage, and it was an advantage to have a well-used and highly regarded pathway network that we are able to link in to and expand on,” said Regional Councillor Neil Kirton, who chairs the Venture Hawke’s Bay Board.
There is, however, still a considerable process to go through before a final proposal is successful. Council staff are now starting the feasibility study which needs to be submitted to the Ministry of Tourism by 31 May.
The immediate benefit from the construction of the trail will be boosting youth employment. It will also have clear advantages for local sport and recreation, and add another excellent tourism product to Hawke’s Bay.
“Hawke’s Bay is already seen as a high class visitor destination and the addition of this trail would add another great product for cycling tourists to enjoy,” said Cr Kirton.
He says that Venture Hawke’s Bay estimates that people who visit Hawke’s Bay and use the existing cycleways account for around 43,000 visitor nights a year. “The new route is expected to double that, and could add around $16 M to the local economy.”
Cr Liz Remmerswaal, the Council’s representative on the Hastings Pathways Trust, applauds the announcement. “It is exciting to get the green light on the project and it reflects well on the hard work that many people have done over a long time.”
The Regional Council has agreed in principle to part financially support the proposed expanded cycleway from its fund for projects of regional significance, using Council investment funds. The feasibility study stage will be funded $40,000 from the Ministry of Tourism and $10,000 from the Regional Council.
A map of the proposed trails around New Zealand that have gone to the feasibility stage can be found on www.tourism.govt.nz/Our-Work/New-Zealand-Cycle-Trail-Project