By David Hill
A recreational cycleway between Belfast and Kaiapoi is being explored to tap into the growing tourism market.
Waimakariri District Council staff have been instructed to prepare a request for funding for a recreational cycle way, which would follow the stopbank into Kaiapoi, for the incoming council to consider as part of its 2020/21 annual plan deliberations.
This recreational cycleway has been proposed in addition to a commuter cycleway being developed along the west side of Main North Road and along Vickery Street and Peraki Street.
It is estimated the recreational cycleway would cost $250,000 and would form stage one in a proposed Christchurch to Waipara cycle trail, being promoted by Enterprise North Canterbury (ENC).
In a presentation to Tuesday’s council meeting, ENC chief executive Heather Warwick said a 78km cycle trail from Cathedral Square to Waipara would link the city to wine region and tap into a growing cycling tourism market.
“The idea is for a multi-day cycle trail, leaving from Christchurch and staying the night in Kaiapoi and then continuing to the wine country.”
The cycle trail could then link in with the Hurunui Heartland Trail and the Whale trail being developed between Kaikoura and Picton.
Mrs Warwick said there was no outside funding available at this stage, so it would need to be developed in stages.
WDC utilities and roading manager Gerard Cleary said the clip-on cycleway being built on the State Highway 1 Waimakariri River bridge by the New Zealand Transport Agency means now is a good time to be considering cycleway projects.
He said staff were updating the action plan from the council’s walking and cycling strategy.
ENC, Kaiapoi Promotions Association, Rangiora Promotions and Environment Canterbury will be invited to join the council’s walking and cycling reference group as it updates its strategy and works on these proposals.
Retiring Mayor David Ayers began Tuesday’s meeting by paying tribute to Kaiapoi businessmen John Blakeley and David Blackwell, who passed away recently.
Cr Neville Atkinson echoed the tribute, saying both were “instrumental in me sitting around the [council] table”.
“Both were very, very strong advocates for Kaiapoi and without those two stalwarts I don’t believe Kaiapoi would have had as much push as it does today.”
Councillors also considered submissions to the Ministry for the Environment on the proposed priority product stewardship scheme guidelines discussion document, the national policy statement (NPS) on urban development and the NPS on freshwater management, and to the Ministry for Primary Industries on the proposed NPS for highly productive land.