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Thames Tracks on the Go!

Whatever you think about the Thames Promotion Project, there are signs that it is starting to crystalise around track building - everything else now appears peripheral. Take a look at the programe of meetings proposed in a presser out today that has Greg Hampton's name front and centre along with one Ric Balfour - a recent arrival in the town with apparent vast experinece in this area that has led to his engagement as Local Trails Consultant.

"About Ric Balfour

Ric is focusing on the trails part of the Thames Promotion Project, looking at options and priorities for trail development.

A Thames resident, he is a professional recreation planner with 30 years experience in developing parks, recreation and tourism opportunities. Ric began his career as a forest ranger in the NZ Forest Service (pre-Department of Conservation), studied at Lincoln University and Oregon State University, followed by 19 years working in recreation planning and trail development before returning to New Zealand in 2007.

Ric led the development of the TECT All Terrain Park for Western Bay of Plenty District Council as Park Manager, and most recently on the staff at EcoQuest Education Foundation.

An avid volunteer in the trails scene, Ric is also currently an advisor on the National Trail Fund, and a member of the Thames Mountain Bike Club.

Ric moved to Thames in late 2014 and is inspired by what the Thames area has to offer and is keen to add his expertise to the project."

Interesting to note that Greg has followed the letter of the law in keeping all potential candidates names off the presser (it is a requirement of the Electoral Act that existing members names must be kept off all Council generated publicity within three months of the election)  Well spotted Greg, even if the presser gives the appearance of being a anonymous panegyric. Nevertheless, it does appear entirely dependent on Government funding through the recent $26m budget allocation. Oh well, I guess that is just the luck of the game to enable incumbents to bask in reflected glory, but don't be fooled.

If you look very closely at the subject of the meetings called (by Greg!), it would appear that there is a real concentration on establishing a network at the back of Thames based on dilapidated old gold miners tracks, and a number of new tracks, and that is certainly not before time. It is a great project and I wish them well - may even try a few myself, and certainly help along the way.

I would certainly like to se the old Tararu-Thames link re-established - I have traversed a fair length of, but it drops off into wash-outs at a certain point above the Arts Centre. It is good to see it mentioned in the list, but it will probably not be top priority.

Completion of a the Victoria St Extension to the Crosbies Hut section would also be a seriously good challenge, and link easily to Karaka, and Waiotahi. And that is just the Northern Sector. 

I will try to get to the town meeeting (Grahamstown Hotel - 7 to 8.30pm on Wednesday 20 July) and report back on just what they have in mind, but so far so good. And Ric certainly looks like he has a great deal to offer.


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