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Something that came through very clearly in all the talk about economic development at last few meetings was David Hammonds’ commitment to the development of walkways around the District. He brings this commitment from Ruapehu where they have apparently been enormously successful as tourism magnets. There was real enthusiasm for this amongst the councillors at the meeting on 23 May, and I would have to say that it does seem on the face of it to have real legs (no pun intended!).

Apparently Leigh Hopper has offered some kind assistance in getting the planning off the ground, but that should not detract from the idea – he does have the interests of the District at heart, even if in the past they seem to have melded closely with his personal commercial interests. John Gaukroger has recently been involved with efforts to get things moving at Tairua, There are already some major walks on the East Coast that could form the basis of a Coastal Walkway, eventually qualifying as a ‘Great Walk”. Bring it on – this is a real economic development.




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Reader Comments (1)

We need only look to the hills behind Thames for a network of heritage sleigh tracks that would provide a fantastic walkway asset for visitors and locals. If we could but get WRC, DoC, TCDC, Iwi and the community to sit around the table to discuss options for remediating this network, and sharing a common vision, then work could progress. Using voluntary labour and PD assets could see some (small) cost mitigation. All of the valleys from Tararu to the Kauaeranga have old tracks that go to the crest and are joined, so that the possibility for track route options are numerous, including going to Crosbies Clearing and on to the Tapu-Coroglen Road and also into the Kauaeranga Valley. The renovation of these tracks would not only allow for the creation of a new adventure walkway/ mountain biking/ running et. al. network, but that network could also be used for weed eradication and reforestation with selected species and the development of selected heritage sites. If we develop synergies in the combination of local groups that have vested interests then all manner of options are revealed. But for any of this to start, we need the bureaucrats to want to do something and to let go of a few rules. Anyone that has tried to work on local tracks to keep them open will tell you that if you raise your head 'above the trench' and tell the authorities what you are doing, then 100 reasons why you cannot do that same thing will be heaped upon you. Authorities need to be prepared to let people take risks in carrying out remedial labours that are voluntarily offered up. Too often great community initiatives are stopped because someone in authority is not prepared to take any risk. The cycleway is great but the realisation of a remediated network of tracks in the hills behind us also brings revenue opportunities - maybe not as big as a cycleway, but in tandem with the cycleway the potential is great. Imagine a cycleway patron coming into Thames, staying a night or two, and exploring the network of heritage tracks. Oh, that's right, those cyclists will not be coming into Thames, they will be stopping at Rhodes Park. Now, who dreamed up that great idea; TCDC? See what I mean.

May 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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