Walking track opens after 'amazing' community effort
Three years in the making and more than $250,000 in donated goods and services later, Winton's new walking track was officially opened on Saturday.
The nine-kilometre walk and cycle track around Winton township crosses about 10 private properties and opens up scenic parts of the town which might not otherwise be experienced.
The opening was the culmination of hundreds of hours of work in a project spearheaded by Central Southland man Lachie McGregor in conjunction with the Winton Rotary Club.
"It's been amazing. Every business we approached was ready to help, the Rotary club has been fantastic, the landowners who supported us - it's just been a great community project and everyone involved can feel an immense sense of pride."
That sentiment was supported by Community Trust of Southland chief executive John Prendergast who said it was refreshing to find a project that was truly supported by local people.
"It's come from the community, for the community and is owned by the community."
It was projects like this that allowed the trust's funding to work at its best, he said. "In fact, this would be one of the best community projects that I've seen in my years [with the trust]."
Southland District Council Mayor Gary Tong was also impressed and said it was his vision to get other great projects like this under way in other communities around the province.
Clutha Southland MP Bill English opened the track, with Winton resident Joan Hodges, who gave permission for the track to cross her land, cutting the ribbon.