A new walking and cycling track linking Hāwea Flat with the Hāwea River Track will soon become a reality, the Upper Clutha Tracks Trust (UCTT) announced yesterday.
Since developing the Upper Clutha Walking and Cycling Strategy in 2006, the not-for-profit organisation has been working to create a track network that links all the Wānaka communities together, providing recreational and commuter opportunities.
Made up of eleven members of the Wānaka community, plus representatives from the council and Department of Conservation, the trust has been working to link Hāwea Flat to the river via the historic Newcastle Road. A cycle path along the length of the public road has already been built, and this route will now be continued west across Devon Dairy Farms’ land to join up with the Hāwea River Track.
UCTT chair John Hare said the only way to achieve this short but critical link across private land was to come to an agreement with the landowners, Devon Dairy Farms Ltd.
“They recognised the benefits the track will bring to the community and have recently signed an easement in favour of the UCTT. The trust can now build and maintain the track for the community,” Hare said.
Devon Dairy’s managing director, Erynne Fildes, said he was very happy to enable this missing link in the network. “We are honoured and proud to enable the long awaited joining of the Hāwea Flat community through our land to the existing Hāwea River Track, thus making the experience greater for the wider community. Enabling a community experience like this is personally rewarding,” he said.
UCTT plans to commence track construction next spring. The 1.4km easy grade track will continue west from Newcastle Road, cross under the busy farm access road then join the Hāwea River Track about 2km downstream from Camphill Bridge.
Funding has already been secured from the Central Lakes Trust, Queenstown Lakes District Council and the Otago Community Trust to complete what will be a $233k project. UCTT is confident it is a worthwhile investment and will be used regularly for recreation andcommuting.
“We are very grateful for the funding we have received towards the completion of this project. We will certainly be celebrating with an official track opening,” Mr Hare said.
Read edition 975 of the Wānaka Sun here.