Seddon and Ward business owners back proposed Coastal Pacific Trail
Businesses in south Marlborough struggling in the wake of the earthquake are adding their weight to calls for a cycleway down the east coast.
Supporters of the proposed Coastal Pacific Trail, between Marlborough and Christchurch, say it will be an economic boon for communities along the route.
To bolster the case for the cycleway, advocates have also invoked the success of the Central Otago Rail Trail, which helped revitalise towns in the area.
East Coast Inn owner Jim McDougall said the fate of the Ward establishment was yet to be decided, but whether the trail went ahead would play a major role.
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The building was yellow-stickered in the earthquake and had remained closed since, as McDougall waited on engineering and cost reports to file with the insurer.
"With the road closed, there's no business there at the moment - you wouldn't make a cent there hardly, so it depends entirely on what happens," he said.
"The talk about a rail trail, that sort of thing could be the making of a lot of those smaller communities all the way down the coast.
"I think it's a brilliant idea, they need to take the opportunity and get onto it right now."
Flaxbourne Services owner Barbara Burkhart said the Ward business had struggled with the loss of thoroughfare traffic as a result of the earthquake.
However, things had started to pick up with the return of visitors - many of whom wanted to check out the seabed lift at Ward Beach - as well as roading contractors.
"The weekend can be absolutely manic, people are coming from all over the place to have a look, sometimes there can be as many as 100 people down at the beach," she said.
However, Burkhart said she expected this to drop off over winter, adding she was fully behind the cycleway project, which would help bring in more visitors to the town.
"Anything that's going to bring people past my doors I'm in favour of - I think it's a great idea, and it would be a great thing for the area," she said.
Cosy Corner Cafe owner Linda Horton said the cycleway might help her Seddon business, but the reason she supported the proposal was because she liked the idea.
"It might help us but at the end of the day it's a lovely stretch of the country and a cycleway would be absolutely brilliant - even I might attempt it," she said.
- The Marlborough Express