Rātā Foundation moves Coastal Pacific Trail from idea to project
Funding has started to roll in for a proposed cycle trail from Picton to Kaikōura.
The Rātā Foundation has pledged $600,000 to the Coastal Pacific Trail, to be put towards development costs, with the total cost expected to be about $10 million.
The money will come from the foundation's 2016 Earthquake Fund, a $1.1m pool of money set up to respond to the needs of communities affected by the November quake.
Coastal Pacific Trail working group chairman John Forrest said the funding meant they could move from "an idea and a concept to a project to undertake".
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He said the funds would allow them to appoint key people. They were looking to start with a project manager with expertise in construction, and a executive officer to co-ordinate construction, promotions and marketing.
"We're just going through that process of getting the best two people for those two jobs."
Forrest said consents and construction on some of the more achievable sections of the trail were likely to start over the next three to four months.
Over the next six months, the group would try to work with the Government and local authorities, to "bring every kilometre of this trail to life" in terms of costing and design.
He said the biggest challenge so far had been "holding people's enthusiasm back", as many were wanting to jump in and help before structures were in place to organise building and fundraising.
Rātā Foundation chief executive Louise Edwards said they were drawn to the trail because it would "provide much needed economic stimulus for the region".
"We're hoping that by us committing to the project, we'll attract other funders from central and local government, and corporate sponsors."
A feasibility study on the trail, funded by the Marlborough District Council and released last week, found the project could pump more than $100m into the Marlborough economy over the next 20 years.
In July, then-Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced funding for an 11-kilometre cycle and walkway from Okiwi Bay to Mangamaunu as part of the ongoing earthquake recovery work. It would make up part of the trail.
Forrest said some members of the working group had been looking at the cycleway for five years, and the "biggest technical issue" had always been the section damaged by the quake.
In August, KiwiRail came out in support of the trail.
The overall goal of the project was to create a continuous trail from Ship Cove, on the Queen Charlotte track, to Cathedral Square in Christchurch.