A feasibility study into a proposal for a cycle trail connecting Picton with Kaikoura says it would need to be a staged, long term plan, but there’s potential for a big return to the region. Council’s Assets & Services Committee will now consider this report, ahead of any decision by Council on the part it could play in the project.
The report says a cycle trail has great potential:
- creating between 45 to 88 full time local jobs in hospitality, retail and recreation services
- regional income generated by trail users of between $67.7m to $131.69m over 20 years
- the most achievable sections in the medium term are Blenheim to Seddon and Seddon to Ward
- the most difficult sections to achieve are Ward to Clarence and Picton to Blenheim - likely to be longer term parts of the project
- Government funding will cover the trail development along the coast north of Kaikoura to Okiwi Bay as part of the SH 1 rebuild, the most costly section of the trail.
There is an enormous amount of work to be done in determining the final route and alignment. There are substantial physical infrastructure challenges and much investigative work required in the environmentally sensitive area between Ward and Clarence. The report recommends bike trail assets are owned and maintained by the Marlborough and Kaikoura district councils, with a trust set up to help raise funds and market the trail, similar to the Queenstown Trails Trust.