Cycle trail bridge will stand alone for months
A cycle trail bridge over the Riwaka River will be built next month, but the trail to either end of the bridge will not be ready until well into 2013.
The bridge will be isolated for several months because it has been funded by the Economic Development Ministry and the funds need to be spent by the end of the year. The bridge will cost about $100,000 of the $150,000 pledged by the ministry toward the trail from Riwaka to the Kaiteriteri Mountainbike Park, due to open by June next year.
The Nelson Tasman Cycle Trail Trust awarded the contract to build the bridge to Kidson Construction last week and Motueka's Concrete and Metals are building the bridge's on-ramps, said John Kerridge, a member of the trust who heads the Coastal $800k Group, a fundraising and promotions group that focuses on the Motueka-Kaiteriteri sections of the trail.
The bridge will cross the Riwaka River downstream from the bridge on State Highway 60, and the trail over it will run between Goodall Rd and Pueketapu reserve, where Riwaka-Kaiteriteri Rd meets Tasman Bay.
Mr Kerridge said the trust intended to use the bridge as a focal point of promotion and fundraising, with an information session to be held at the Sprig and Fern Tavern in Motueka tomorrow from 5.15pm-6.15pm.
He said the pitch would be to Motueka and Kaiteriteri businesses, laying out where the trail would be going and what the opportunities would be. It was important that businesses were ready to capitalise on the influx of tourists expected once the trail was running by next summer.
"Mapua is already humming with the ferry and we need to be ready for next season," he said.
The pitch is not just about raising cash, he said. The trust was saving a lot of money by using donated and discounted labour, such as the upgrade of a cycle trail at the Kaiteriteri Mountainbike Park, which was being done at significantly discounted rates, and Motueka Rotary building cattle stops on local sections of the trail.
The trail to Kaiteriteri was progressing well, with land access negotiations essentially complete.
"The trail to Kaiteriteri is one of the big features. It is going to happen, there is some work to be done - but the whole community will benefit by it coming to Motueka. The hard bit is getting it finished - once we do, it will sell itself."
The trust's goal for the trail is that by 2016, it will be attracting 28,000 tourists contributing $20 million annually to the local economy.
The Nelson Mail