Pathway's inspiration moving on

END OF THE ROAD: Marlborough mayor Alistair Sowman, left, declares the third stage of The Link Pathways open, by outgoing track champion Pete Brady and about 100 well-wishers.
FRANK GASTEIGER/Marlborough Express
END OF THE ROAD: Marlborough mayor Alistair Sowman, left, declares the third stage of The Link Pathways open, by outgoing track champion Pete Brady and about 100 well-wishers.

Using shovels to carve out a track into hard, compact earth wasn't the ideal start to building an off-road pathway connecting Havelock to Picton, but nonetheless it was a start, says Pete Brady.

The Mahakipawa Arm resident has been instrumental in building The Link Pathway, a 1.5-metre-wide cycling and walking track, and after overseeing Saturday's opening of the third stage, he and his family are shifting to Christchurch.

The 10-year pathway project, which was developed in 2005, was championed by Mr Brady as well as Rick Edmonds of Moenui Bay and Nigel Morrison of Linkwater.

In 2006, after starting the first one-kilometre stretch from Mahakipawa Hill, just south of Belvue Bay, without machinery, Mr Brady said they were thankful when people with diggers and power equipment came on board.

"That was us working without any money and just proving that we could build a track.

"Since then, though, we've had so many locals see what we're doing and lend a huge helping hand the support we've had has been fantastic."

The first section opened in 2007. The second, 5.5km from Linkwater School to the small settlement of The Grove on Queen Charlotte Dr, opened in January 2008.

Addressing about 100 people at the third stage's opening by the Tirimoana Wharf near Anakiwa, Mr Brady said this latest section had been the hardest.

Progress on the 3km stretch from the Queen Charlotte Track and Anakiwa's Outward Bound back to Linkwater, was made "near impossible" last year with one of the wettest winters on record, he said.

But with of support from businesses and the community, as well as funding from Te Araroa Trust and the Marlborough District Council, it was completed.

One source of great assistance had been the Outward Bound School, said Mr Brady. School director Rob MacLean said almost 1000 students had helped with labouring on the pathway.

So after living in the area for 25 years Mr Brady is southward-bound with his Department of Conservation job and for his children's schooling.

Marlborough mayor Alistair Sowman, who officially opened the third stage, said Mr Brady's vision and driving force was an inspiration to others.

Over the next month, work volunteers are expected to begin on the fourth section from Linkwater to Mahakipawa.

The Marlborough Express