Upgrades improving city’s tracks

Sam Macaulay, of Dunedin, runs  up the nearly 100 new steps on the Mt Cargill walking track near...
Sam Macaulay, of Dunedin, runs up the nearly 100 new steps on the Mt Cargill walking track near the summit on Saturday. Photo: Christine O'Connor
A multitude of walking tracks and paths around Dunedin have been given an overdue spruce-up in the past year.

Some of the most popular tracks in the city including the Mt Cargill, Pineapple, Flagstaff, Soldiers Lookout and Ross Creek walks have been upgraded and improved.

The work includes about 100 new steps leading up to the summit of the Mt Cargill track replacing the former ad hoc rocks and platforms scattered near the top of the walk.

Dunedin City Council biodiversity officer Aalbert Rebergen  said many of the tracks around the city had not been upgraded for some time and the council was in the process of slowly improving them.

An increasing number of severe rainfall events also meant repairs were needed more often than before, Mr Rebergen said.

Most of the work was aimed at keeping the tracks in the best condition possible for the longest time possible, he said.

"The guys have been gradually improving the tracks by installing culverts and water tables. After you’ve done that the gravel you’ve put on top will stay in place for much longer."

As many of the tracks were located in areas which were hard to access, a helicopter was sometimes needed to transport materials and gravel.

Mr Rebergen was unable to provide an estimate for the cost of the improvements but said the council’s contract with the Port Chalmers-based Upfront Environmental, which does all of the maintenance and upgrading work on the council’s walking tracks, was very economical.

Upfront Environmental owner David Blair said the work could be challenging as it all needed to be done using hand tools.

"We’ve probably replaced about 100 culverts and done about 20km of water tabling just to try to get them up to standard so they can cope with these heavy rainfalls we’re getting now."

All of the upgrades were set to the same standards the Department of Conservation  used for its walks, Mr Blair said.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

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