Cycle route unsafe, say couple

ROAD HAZARD:  Megan and Bruce Gordon on a driveway to their property that is used by stock trucks and trailers and is on the Great Taste Cycle Trail route.ntsG
ROAD HAZARD: Megan and Bruce Gordon on a driveway to their property that is used by stock trucks and trailers and is on the Great Taste Cycle Trail route.ntsG

A Mariri couple are taking action to prevent a contract being issued for work on a section of the Great Taste Cycle Trail.

Megan and Bruce Gordon believe cost saving will make the trail which is to go past their property in Harley Rd unsafe for cyclists.

Mrs Gordon said she felt railroaded and was at her wits' end in trying to resolve their concerns.

The couple are seeing their lawyers about the issues.

"I want to stop that contract being issued," she said.

Mrs Gordon first learnt of the change in the cycle trail route after returning home from a business trip overseas mid-last year to find a letter to residents from the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust.

The planned route from Mapua to Motueka was changed to include Harley Rd after negotiations with landowners on the preferred route, from Higgs Reserve through Chaytor Track and up to Tasman View Rd reached an impasse.

The Gordons have a beef cattle and dairy grazing property and the entrance is used by stock trucks.

Mrs Gordon said the cycle trail would go past that entrance, and it was a blind corner for them exiting their driveway as cyclists careered down the trail.

She questioned why the trail was going up Harley Rd and suggested an alternative along the Mariri estuary inlets but had been told the budget did not allow that.

She said they had offered to gift some land for an alternative, and the project had backtracked on a proposal to change the entrance.

"This is ridiculous, it is an ill-conceived idea putting cost saving ahead of property owners' and cyclists' safety," she said.

She said she had been told the contract for building the Harley Rd trail was about to go out for tender and believed it was being rushed through.

Tasman District councillor Brian Ensor, who has worked with trial project manager Stuart Hughes on the issues, said a lot of work had been done to come up with a reasonable deal.

One of those options was to use a small portion of neighbouring NZ Transport Agency land to make an existing entrance safer for bigger trucks getting on to the road from the Gordons. NZTA had rejected that but Mr Ensor said they would go back to NZTA.

"I am comfortable we have done a lot of work to come up with a reasonable deal.

"We are not trying to bulldoze them into anything. The fact is the cycle trail is road reserve owned by the council and the cycle trust does not have to do anything."

He said the cycleway would not be shifted to the other side of the road because three property owners there did not want it either. He acknowledged that property owners in that section of the route did not want the cycleway going past their properties but said the cycleway would go ahead and it was hugely popular.

Other options had been looked at but Harley Rd had been chosen as the preferred route.

Mr Hughes said he was preparing the contract documents now, aiming to complete them in two weeks.

The contract would then go to the Tasman District Council for approval, then to prospective contractors for tender.

The trail construction was already three months behind schedule. If it was delayed again the project would run out of time before winter to do the work on the Harley Rd and Tasman View Rd section which was due to be completed by the end of June, he said.