Cycle trail group applying for funding

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 09:59 24/06/2014

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Marlborough's off-road trail working group will apply to Tourism New Zealand for funding so it can build a sealed path alongside New Renwick Rd.

At a meeting last month, the working group decided to focus on one route, to be called the Southern Valleys Cycle Trail, between Blenheim and Renwick.

The trail would connect Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, Villa Maria Estate, Wither Hills and Brancott Heritage Centre and potentially Highfield Estate as well as boutique wineries and restaurants in Renwick.

Marlborough District Council reserves and amenities officer Robin Dunn said the route would complement the Renwick Cycle Circuit.

"Basically that's a path that will connect them all together and that is one focus . . . it has great appeal for tourists and locals," he said.

"This is one we think is a goer . . . [so] we are working behind the scenes on trying to get an application together for Tourism New Zealand. It's potentially quite exciting."

The trail was estimated to cost about $450,000.

Earlier this year, the group compiled six potential routes but, when it began looking at ways to fund the trail, it discovered it was not eligible for the Tourism New Zealand Growth Partnership fund.

The fund invests in innovative projects that help the tourism industry and create jobs.

The group then decided to prioritise the trails and focus on one that would increase tourism within the district, Dunn said.

"It's quite a big-ticket item . . . it will be a pretty cool thing but it will cost some dollars."

The application had to show increased commercial returns, innovation and product development "but there is no guarantee".

"If we can't get funding [from Tourism New Zealand] we will look at other options," he said.

The group, formed because of the lack of safe off-road trails between cellar doors, would continue to look at other priority trails, including the Opawa and Wairau stopbanks.

The Southern Valleys Cycle Trail would be presented at the Bike Walk Marlborough meeting next week, he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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