'Lack of communication' over cycle trail

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 14/03/2014

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Not all business owners along the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail are riding high on the reported enthusiasm surrounding the multimillion-dollar project.

Last week, the Southland District Council and Venture Southland announced a $1 million grant from the Lottery Grants Board for stage 2 of the trail.

It was also announced stage 1 of the trail, from Kingston to Lumsden and Mossburn, was expected to be finished by May.

At the time of the announcement, Southland District Council chief executive David Adamson said the trail was generating enthusiasm from businesses eager to cash in on the expected flow of cyclists.

However, several of those businesses expected to "cash in" said they were losing their enthusiasm with the lack of communication surrounding the trail's progress and delays to the completion of the trail.

Mossburn Railway Hotel owner Tom Law said he was finding out about new developments in the newspaper when he wanted to be informed in advance by those in charge of building the trail.

"As a business owner on the track I can assure you that the only enthusiasm I have left for this venture is waning fast."

Stage 1 was scheduled to open in November, then it got pushed back to February, now it was going to be May, he said.

"After four years of promises, it's frustrating because there is such a lack of information being given to businesses along the trail," he said.

While he still strongly supported the trail and believed there could be economic benefits for the region, those working to complete the trail needed to work harder at keeping businesses in the loop otherwise support would begin to deflate, Mr Law said.

Hectors Motel and Holiday Park manager Annabelle Wilson said the Kingston business would love to cash in on the business the cycle trail would potentially bring but the excitement generated by all the early talk was beginning to fade as the completion date kept getting pushed back.

"There is a severe lack of communication and no follow through," Mrs Wilson said.

However, Lumsden's Route 6 Cafe owner Rob Scott said he believed there was enough information provided by the council and Venture Southland about the progress of the trail. He hoped all businesses along the trail continued to support the project.

"I think this will be a great thing for Southland."

Mr Adamson said council and Venture Southland staff had been working hard to keep the wheels in motion for the project.

"I have been at public meetings in the communities including Mossburn, the council website, Facebook page all have information about the trail," Mr Adamson said.

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Staff would continue to visit residents and businesses along the trail as bridges were built and further infrastructure completed, he said.

"People looking for more information can also come to the horse's mouth and call the Southland District Council," Mr Adamson said.

 

- The Southland Times

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