Grateful cadets are on track

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 07:41 24/10/2013
Ari Osborne
Emma Allen

Giving back: Officer cadets Ari Osborne and Glenn Blay help make way for the Link Pathway track, being built between Havelock and Picton for cyclists and walkers, as put something back to the community they have been staying in for the past six months

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A group of Royal New Zealand Air Force officer cadets yesterday visited Linkwater to help clear a stretch of pathway that will eventually link Havelock and Picton.

Officer cadet Stephen Wright said the 16 cadets, who have been living and training at Base Woodbourne, took part in the work as a way of "giving back to the community they have been staying in".

"It's a way to show we have junior officer qualities, and give back to the community, showing what we have learnt on the course and what we have and can take into the workplace," he said.

The group will graduate next Friday after spending the last six months training at Woodbourne.

One of their final tasks was to set up camp on their own at Linkwater, and plan a week of activities, which included their community work yesterday morning.

Link Pathways track organiser Rick Edmonds said the cadets had contributed to a stretch of land on the 42km track, which runs alongside Queen Charlotte Drive.

"This is their patch, they've pioneered this," he said.

The project was gaining momentum and volunteers had so far cut out 12km of vegetation, he said.

"We are finding these old bridle paths that the early settlers and miners built that were forgotten about and abandoned when the roads were built," he said.

Somebody had done the hard work for them 150 years ago, Mr Edmonds said.

"The paths are there and we can just clear the vegetation . . .they are just perfect for us," he said.

Volunteer students from the Outward Bound School regularly came to help, but this was the first time officer cadets had leant a hand to the project, Mr Edmonds said.

The trackwas first planned about eight years ago because residents in the area wanted a safe track to walk and cycle on.

Mr Edmonds said the community and volunteer helpers were building the pathway after the council and DOC gave them permission for the project, but could not afford to co-ordinate and fund it.

They hoped to have it finished by 2020, he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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