The rugged Roxburgh Gorge and Lake Roxburgh. Photo by
Construction of a $3 million, 33km walking and cycle
track from Alexandra to Roxburgh, which could link to a network
of other trails popular with tourists, will be discussed by the
Vincent Community Board on Friday.
Central Otago District Council community development manager
Mathew Begg has prepared a report, based on a 148-page
pre-feasibility document compiled by former council projects
manager Matthew Sole, which explores various options for the
trail along both sides of Lake Roxburgh down the Roxburgh
Gorge and also over the Knobby Range.
The idea of a trail was first mooted in 2006, when the then
Alexandra Community Board and the Roxburgh Community Board
agreed to jointly fund a $15,000 investigation.
This follows the huge success of the Otago Central Rail Trail
(from Middlemarch to Clyde), the popular Clutha River Trail
(from Alexandra to Clyde) and the proposed Clutha Gold Trail
(from Roxburgh to Lawrence).
The proposed Alexandra-Roxburgh trail through the "unique
landscape" of the Roxburgh Gorge would link those tracks.
Central Otago Rail Trail Trust chairwoman Daphne Hull said a
new trail could only be good for the community.
"They came to us to talk about when it was first mooted and
we have been supportive all the way.
If it helps bring people into the area as much as ours has,
that can only be good for the community," she said.
Rod Pierce, chairman of the Clutha Gold Trail Charitable
Trust, said the trust was interested in connecting with the
"Certainly it will also tie in with the Clutha Matau Au
walkway. Anything that enhances the whole river trail is
beneficial," he said.
In his report Mr Sole says he favours a trail on the "true
left" (eastern) bank of the Roxburgh Dam because there were
fewer landowners to negotiate with, the "stunning visuals"
and fewer weather-related factors which would affect the
design of the track.
The Knobbies options had been discounted.
The trail would be at least 2.5m wide and be of a high
standard, providing a smooth riding and walking surface.
Operational costs would be limited and it would be unlikely
accommodation would be available, as the journey could be
easily done in a day.
A single walking track from Alexandra to Doctor's Point
already leads to the remains of old Chinese villages built
during the gold mining days, but it is only accessible on
foot and has some difficult passages.
The report suggests further work on the project would require
another $30,000 which would be shared by the Vincent and