Trail trust awaits talks outcome

Gerard Hyland.
Gerard Hyland.
The group behind a project aiming to provide a cycle link between Mosgiel and Dunedin is awaiting the result of crucial land negotiations.

Dunedin Tunnels Trail Trust trustee Gerard Hyland said it began negotiations with the property owners of the land leading up to the 158m Chain Hills railway tunnel in December and hoped to get an answer soon.

The plan was for the disused 148-year-old railway tunnel to form part of the first stage of a trail linking Dunedin to Mosgiel, which would also use the Caversham tunnel.

It was hoped work could begin on building the track in the ''next month or two'', depending on the result of negotiations, Mr Hyland said.

Gaining access through the property would also allow the project control group to apply for grants to pay for the trail.

He said Matthew Sole, who negotiated the easements for the Roxburgh and Clutha gold trails, had been involved in the property negotiations and in marking a potential trail through the property.

''Basically, the property owners didn't want the trail going along the old railway form because it was too close to the house, so we looked at using the bank which was south of the house.''

Mr Sole said no issues were expected when it came to negotiating use of the Chain Hills tunnel, which was believed to be under Crown control.

Last year he said estimates of costs for the Chain Hills stage of the project ranged from ''several hundred thousand dollars'' to more than $2 million.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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