Track and trail trusts should not think of the Central
Otago District Council as a backstop for maintenance funding,
mayor Tony Lepper says.
His comments were aired at the recent Otago Conservation
Board and Clutha Management Committee meetings. ''My
observation is that [trail] trusts are going to struggle for
maintenance funding in the future and the backstop way will
be to come back to councils, community boards and this
[Clutha Management] committee to maintain these assets.
''Local government has jumped into these things and it might
jump out just as quickly.''
He told the committee it might be the ideal group to look at
the district's tracks in their entirety and whether there
needed to be a management plan.
Committee member and Roxburgh Gorge Trail (between Alexandra
and Roxburgh) trust chairman Stephen Jeffery said his trust
and the Clutha Gold Trail (between Roxburgh and Lawrence)
trust held a joint meeting last week to discuss the
''commercialisation'' of the trails - how they could generate
income from the trails to cover repairs and maintenance.
Addressing the conservation board meeting from the public
forum, Mr Lepper told board members the council might not be
open to funding any new tracks and trails.
''The opportunity for us to fund new projects ... will be
There were two reasons for his comments - he did not want
Central Otago rates to rise by more than 5% and there were
items such as water and wastewater upgrades that needed
Also, the local government commission had told the council to
focus funds on core infrastructure, he said.
At the Clutha Management Committee meeting, he praised the
trails and trail proponents, saying once completed, the
trails would be ''fantastic''.
Despite the maintenance commitment to an established track
between Alexandra and Clyde, he said it was a great
investment. The track, along the Clutha River, was built by
the Otago Regional Council and then handed over to the
''There been some expenditure, but it's so well used as a
recreational tool by the community, what better place to put
your money? If I had to sacrifice something, I'd almost
rather give up Molyneux Park before giving up funding that
trail,'' Mr Lepper said.
Committee member Jeff Hill had concerns about council
committing ratepayer funds to ongoing trail expenses.
''We already have a roading network that we struggle to
maintain ... this is another network.''
Mr Lepper said the Central Lakes Trust had contributed to the
construction cost of some of the trails and so could be a
possible funding avenue for maintenance.