Digging in to promote better cycling
The Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park is on a roll. The Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve Board agreed to fund the purchase of a digger and three years of track work during its meeting last month.
The Economic Development Ministry is also backing the extension of the Great Taste Cycle Trail from Riwaka to Kaiteriteri, where it will link with the park, and has offered Tasman District Council $150,000 if it commits to the work.
KMBP project manager Guy Trainor said the board had agreed to purchase the digger on behalf of the park and fund the park's track programme over the next three years.
The park was proving a popular attraction and overnight stop for mountainbikers and the board's funding was an indication of its commitment to the project, Guy said.
He estimated the three years of track would cost about $60,000. The digger would be used for the work and the network of trails would be extended to make better use of the 180-hectare park, he said.
The cycle trail's extension to Kaiteriteri dovetailed perfectly with what the park was working to achieve.
KMBP's contribution to the cycle trail route to Kaiteriteri would involve the present Easy Rider track, near the park's southern boundary, being downgraded to a novice-grade cycling track and extended slightly so it would provide cycle access from a point near Turner's Bluff.
"This would allow cyclists to get to Kaiteriteri without having to ride most of the twisty road."
Guy said extending the cycle trail into the mountain bike park would encourage riders to come to Kaiteriteri to ride the park and other trails, like Canaan and the Heaphy.
"It will all contribute to cycling tourism and help Kaiteriteri become a hub for these activities."
In the meantime, work would start on extending and downgrading Easy Rider, with the use of the KMBP's new digger, in mid-June.
The news comes on the back of Tasman's decision to complete the 175-kilometre Great Taste Cycle Trail over the next seven years at a cost of just over $4 million.
The whole trail was scheduled to be finished by 2019.
Nelson Cycle Trails Trust chairman David Bonnett thanked the council for heeding ratepayers' calls to fund what will be an important asset for the district.
"The council has stood up to its commitment ... "
The emergence of new cycle hire companies and increased business activity in Mapua showed the trail was already starting to return money to the community, he said.
Some funds for the council's portion will come from the district's shared facilities rate, due to increase by $2.25 per property over estimates in the 2012-2013 draft long-term plan and rise to $6.31 for the duration of the loan period.
About $4m-plus allocated for Saxton Field's skatepark, playground, ponds and radio mast will instead go towards the trail.