Delays on Tahunanui Cycleway project increases cost to ratepayers

Cyclists stop for a coffee break at Tahunanui Beach.

Cyclists stop for a coffee break at Tahunanui Beach.

The community will get another say on the best place to put a cycleway in Tahunanui, but it will come at an increased cost to ratepayers.

Nelson councillors made a unanimous decision to spend a further $80,000 and set up a new group to come up with the best route for the cycleway at a meeting this week.

It will also work more closely with the community to finalise the route. 

The controversial option for Tahunanui's cycle network voted down by a Nelson City Council committee.

The controversial option for Tahunanui's cycle network voted down by a Nelson City Council committee.

The cycleway has been in the planning phase for four years.

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Works and Infrastructure Committee chair Stuart Walker, councillor Matt Lawrey, representatives from Bicycle Nelson Bays and the New Zealand Transport Agency, and council officers will be on the new advisory group.

A preferred route for the cycleway put forward by council staff, which included Golf and Bolt Rds, was not supported by cycle advocates or the Tahunanui community.

The council voted against it in May, but the project was brought back to the council table this week at the request of the works and infrastructure committee which met last month. 

The project was initially to be funded one third by ratepayers, a third by New Zealand Transport Agency and  a third by the Urban Cycleways Programme, a central government fund to increase cycle networks across New Zealand.

However, transport and roading senior asset engineer Paul D'Evereux said in a report to the council that funding was "at risk" due to the delay. Work had to be completed by June to qualify for that fund.

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"Detailed design on a preferred option will only commence following a decision at the works and infrastructure committee ... and with tendering to follow. Any work on site by June 2018 is highly unlikely", the report said.

Delays to the project means ratepayers' contribution at 33 per cent has increased to 50 per cent. The project could now cost ratepayers up to $2 million, up from the initial $1.3 million, D'Evereux said.

The new advisory group's options will be presented to the works and infrastructure committee meeting in March and if successful, building will begin.

If the group can come up with a preferred route, the cycleway will be put forward for Government funding earmarked for major cycling projects.

In his report D'Evereux said the four years of previous work on the project would not be lost and would form the basis for working with the community and stakeholders in finalising a route for the cycleway, which will add to the city's cycleway network.

If the new model of working with the community on the cycleway project was successful it could be considered for future projects.

 - Stuff


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