Cromwell could become a cycling hub

Cromwell could become ''the hub'' of new cycle trail networks if a proposed Luggate to Cromwell trail is successful, the trail promoters say.

The Upper Clutha Tracks Trust was given a grant of $25,000 by the Central Lakes Trust this week for a feasibility study into the proposed 40km trail.

Tracks trustee and treasurer John Wellington said the proposed trail would connect the Upper Clutha trail network to Cromwell and tie in with the wider Central Otago cycle trail network.

It would link with the proposed Cromwell to Gibbston trail and the proposed Cromwell to Clyde one as well, he said.

''Bit by bit, various groups have taken up the challenge of forming trails along the Clutha River and we're working our way towards Cromwell,'' Mr Wellington said.

When the proposed trails were completed, Cromwell would be the ''hub'' of the new trail network, he said.

The Luggate to Cromwell trail was mostly within the Central Otago district, on the true right of the Clutha River, and he believed the feasibility study would show it was ''do-able''.

''Then it will be a matter of getting other parties on side, talking to adjoining landowners and starting fundraising.''

The aim would be to have the trail on public land where possible, but some of the route would cross private land, so the trust would have to canvass landowners and negotiate with them.

Mr Wellington said the feasibility study could be completed by November and would include estimates of the trail cost.

''It's a longer trail than we've built previously, but it won't have much in the way of structures, so that will make it cheaper, but we really don't even have a ballpark figure at the moment.''

Unlike the trails on the ''Great Rides'' national cycle network, part-funded by the Government, this trail would have a ''lower scale finish'' and was likely to be 1.5m wide, narrower than trails on the national network, which were 2.5m to 3m wide. That would make it cheaper to develop.

''As soon as the feasibility study gives the green light, we'd look at getting it under way, maybe doing it in stages if we need to,'' Mr Wellington said.

Among the other grants by the Central Lakes Trust in its latest round of funding were $1500 for the Wanaka Preschool Early Childhood Centre, for two additional shade sails, and $4750 to the Drybread Cemetery Trust for a new concrete burial strip for headstones and the creation of 40 new graves. The Alexandra Musical Society was also granted a guarantee against loss of $7500 to enable it to stage the musical All Shook Up next month.

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