Glow-in-the-dark path and back country adventure trail in council walkway plans

South Taranaki District Council engineering group manager Brent Manning says a glow-in-the-dark cycle path is being ...
Catherine Grooenestein

South Taranaki District Council engineering group manager Brent Manning says a glow-in-the-dark cycle path is being considered between Hawera and Normanby.

A glow-in-the-dark path could soon link two South Taranaki towns.

One of the materials being considered for a new walking and cycling path between Hawera and Normanby would soak up sunlight during the day and emit light at night, South Taranaki District Council engineering group manager Brent Manning said.

"It's exciting, we're looking at something quite unique. By night, by starlight, it will glow. That means you'll have a lit pathway that might not need much extra light to be navigable at night."

Hawera's popular Denby Rd pathway opened in October  2016.
Catherine Groenestein

Hawera's popular Denby Rd pathway opened in October 2016.

The path, which would be more than 3 kilometres long and would run alongside the railway corridor, was first mooted about two years ago.

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 "We recently received approval in principal from KiwiRail, giving permission for a pathway to be built," Manning said.

https://www.google.co.nz/maps/dir/Lake+Rotorangi,+Matemateaonga/Lake+Rotokare,+Rawhitiroa+4398/@-39.5232722,174.357724,12.04z/data=!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x6d1514a4e3364771:0x2a00ef6165dffdc0!2m2!1d174.5392558!2d-39.5173785!1m5!1m1!1s0x6d150dc6a1258f4f:0x2a00ef6165dffd30!2m2!1d174.4103725!2d-39.4516026!3e0

The rail corporation was currently liaising with leaseholders of land along the route and the council would need to meet safety requirements, such as fencing along the path to keep commuters off railway tracks.

"In the meantime we'll progress the design and we have some decisions to make around the surface," Manning said. 

There was no start date yet for the pathway. Its cost would depend on what surface was chosen, but the project was already funded through a grant from the TSB Community Trust and a private corporation.

Next on the council's list is the second stage of the Denby Rd pathway, which opened late in 2016, and links Hawera to the coast.

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Work will begin soon on a new section that will cross farmland along an unformed legal road, or paper road, for about 1km to Fairfield Rd.

From there path users will be able to connect up with existing paths to carry on past Nowells Lake, or loop back to town.

The new path would cost about $300,000, a combination of council funding and a grant from the TSB Community Trust.

Manning expected the project to be completed for an opening later in summer.

Meanwhile, planning was still underway for a short off-road running and mountain-biking trail off Puawai St on the outskirts of Hawera.

The final project, a longer back country trail linking Lake Rotokare to Lake Rotorangi, had the potential to become a tourist drawcard.

"There's been work going on behind the scenes. There's lots of potential, but it's not going to be an easy one. It's more for the outdoor adventurer."

Sections of the proposed route ran along paper roads and some sections on back country roads.

"We'll be running an event out there in the future to gauge the feasibility," Manning said. 

 - Stuff

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