Barclay critical of cycle trail mismanagement

The Southland District Council needs to get on with finishing the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail, Clutha-Southland MP ...
Nicole Johnstone

The Southland District Council needs to get on with finishing the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail, Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay says.

The Southland District Council "needs to just get on with the job" and finish the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail, Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay says, but the council says an action plan has been signed off.

A report from Deloitte, released in August, sited a $9m budget blowout and project and financial mismanagement with the project.

Barclay said the trail was one of the first to receive funding from the Government and would be last to be finished.

Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay has been critical of the Southland District Council's handling of the Around the ...
Barry Harcourt

Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay has been critical of the Southland District Council's handling of the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail project.

"My view is that they should just get on with it, re-route the track and just get the thing finished.

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"I'm concerned that there has been a loss of confidence with the public over the trail and the council need to get it back on track."

The Southland District Council is appealing an Environment Court decision which upheld an independent commissioner's decision to stop the trail being built on the upper Oreti River, which was lodged by Southland Fish & Game.

"If they proceed to challenge the court decision again in my opinion it would be flogging a dead horse."

"I think with the land owner issues there has been fault on both sides but they need to find a favourable solution and get it finished."

Barclay said the council also needed to market the parts of the trail that were completed.

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"We've got positive growth around cycle tourism and tourism numbers are continuing to increase in Southland but the numbers using the trail don't justify the money spent on that trail so far.

"There are dozens of businesses that rely on it or have established their business around it and until they [the Southland District Council]  start marketing it, they won't thrive."

Council chief executive Steve Ruru said the council decided to appeal the court decision in December because of its wider strategic importance in terms of the Resource Management Act and council's role as a regulatory agency.

The council had already acknowledged there was poor management of the cycle trail project.

"An action plan was signed off by council's Activity Performance Audit Committee to address the issues raised in the Deloitte report."

It has been waiting for a complete package to fully market the trail.

 "Some work is being done, including a live website and Facebook page, and coverage in magazines."

 - Stuff

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