Alps 2 Ocean trail may benefit from funding

DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Last updated 05:00 23/08/2014

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The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail might benefit from further government funding for the country's cycleways.

Associate Minister of Tourism Todd McLay announced $8 million of funding yesterday over four years to enhance and maintain the Great Rides of Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail.

The first round of funding opened yesterday, with $2m being made available this year.

"This new funding will be used to maintain and improve safety and quality across this world-class network of 23 great rides," Nga Haerenga manager Evan Freshwater said.

"For example, the fund will allow trail managers to realign sections of trail where the gradient may exceed what is desirable for their riders, improve the trail surface or build bridges or boardwalks. The funding can also be used to make repairs after storm damage."

Tourism Waitaki general manager Jason Gaskill said he was delighted at the announcement of the fund and hoped the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, which extends more than 300 kilometres from Aoraki/Mt Cook to Oamaru, would benefit.

"We are ecstatic there is a further opportunity for funding, not just for us, but for all of the great rides.

"From a tourism point of view, any available funding to help development opportunities and infrastructure is going to be a great thing. We hope to take advantage of any and all opportunities that present themselves."

He said any funding would enhance the trail and provide more security around long-term maintenance and activity.

Freshwater said applications would be put to an expert panel who then decide which trails were best suited for a round of funding.

"Those that meet the criteria will get the priority funding for that round."

Applications for funding close on September 30.

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- The Timaru Herald

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