A major community project will transform Dunedin's harbourside cycleway corridor into a community recreation and exercise zone during the next three years.
Launched this month by the Rotary Club of Dunedin, the West Harbour Recreation Trail project will develop about 3km of the cycleway corridor, from the Boat Harbour to Maia. The estimated overall cost of the project, which has been divided into six stages, is more than $210,000.
The Rotary Club of Dunedin has set aside $6000, some of the funds raised through its recent Daffodil Project, as seed funding for the project. A major fundraising drive is planned, including applications to community funders, while physical work on stage one of the project will start in February.
The West Harbour Recreation Trail project has involved six months of planning by a development committee, working closely with Dunedin landscape architect Mick Field, who has created a series of concept graphics for the project. The work has been done in consultation with the Dunedin City Council.
Stage one - expected to cost more than $100,000 - will include contouring and fencing, signage, native planting, and the installation of shelter fencing, as well as seats, picnic tables, barbecues and exercise equipment. A dedicated t'ai chi area is also planned.
Further stages of the project will involve providing protection and information for a seal sanctuary area and early harbourside vegetation, further beautification and the installation of seats and picnic tables.
Contacted by The Star, Dunedin City Council sportsfields and facilities officer Harold Driver was impressed by the scale and commitment of the West Harbour Recreation Trail project.
''This is a long-term project, which will involve a significant commitment for the Rotary Club of Dunedin,'' Mr Driver said.
It was great to see a community organisation taking on a project such as this for the benefit of the city, saving ratepayers money, he said.
''The harbourside cycleway area looks good, but it will look a lot better once this project is completed.''
Now that the project has been launched, Rotary Club of Dunedin president Craig Radford is excited by the prospect of making a start on the work in the new year.
''It's something for club members to get their teeth into and will also hopefully involve families and friends and the wider community,'' Mr Radford said.
The West Harbour Recreation Trail project followed on nicely from the club's previous major project - the building of the Orokonui Ecosanctuary track, he said.
Landscape architect Mick Field is delighted by the vision for developing the natural harbourside area, which is easily accessible to the community.
''The area beside the cycleway is mostly flat, so it is an ideal space for families to come and enjoy the natural environment around the harbour,'' Mr Field said.
''This project really defines a recreation area for this part of the cycleway, which will really enhance it as a community facility,'' he said.
West Harbour Recreation Trail project development committee chairman John Gallaher believed the trail would become ''a legacy for the city''.
''Many people already enjoy the cycleway-walkway as it is and this project will really add to its value,'' he said.