Stopbanks key to cycle routes

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 16:14 08/04/2014

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A council working group studying off-road cycle trails is proposing three new routes or connections be built in the next three years.

Six submissions for off-road bike tracks were received by the Marlborough District Council last month and were discussed at a meeting of the Off-road Cycle Trails Working Group yesterday.

At the meeting, the working group compiled five potential routes - a track along the Opawa and Wairau stopbanks; a weir or bridge over the river to connect Dog Point Rd and Lake Tamara Rd; another route with access from one side of the Wairau Valley to the other; a safe family cycling track from Blicks Rd in Renwick to Rapaura Rd and the Wairau River stopbank; and a route from Alma St North in Renwick to Foxes Island Rd.

The routes would complement the Renwick Cycle Circuit.

Explore Marlborough owner Karen Walshe was one of the six to submit an idea for possible off-road tracks.

Walshe said she wanted the tracks to create an "off-road connection" between Blenheim and Renwick for both commuters and tourists.

"We need to think of safe ways to get people across the valley.

"Seeing all those tourists, and commuters, battling the roads - it's not good. We need to do something about it."

A map of her ideas included an off-road track along the Wairau River, a safe route down Rapaura Rd, with some off-road tracks into the vineyards, another from State Highway 1 through stopbanks and private land ending near Waihopai Valley Rd, as well as off-road tracks on New Renwick Rd, Jacksons Rd and SH6.

The potential routes just needed support from the community, she said.

Another submission suggested the use of mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs on the potential off-road tracks. Mobility scooters did not need to have sealed paths, but over time some paths could be sealed to allow everyone to enjoy them, the submission said.

Others mirrored the working group's proposed tracks and included the possibilities of the tracks running through vineyard land, and a track joining Foxes Island Rd.

Marlborough District Council reserves and amenities officer Robin Dunn said they hoped the routes would make important connections between the townships and the wineries.

He agreed the stopbanks were one of the group's main focuses.

"They are higher and have great views if they can be utilised. It's just about getting across," Dunn said.

With a more refined list of potential off-road tracks, it was time to sort out a "game-plan", he said.

Dunn was pleased with the number of submissions and the detailed routes suggested.

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"We just need to try and get some momentum now. We have got some very good feedback and some projects to get our teeth into."

The working group is made up of businesses and organisations in the wine and tourism industries.

- The Marlborough Express

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