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A formal agreement which will secure $2.75 million in Government money for the Alps to Ocean cycleway has been approved by the Waitaki District Council.
The agreement will be signed by the council, Government representatives, the Mackenzie District Council and Mackenzie Tourism and Development Trust in Twizel on September 17.
The cycleway traverses 312km from Aoraki/Mt Cook, through Twizel and Ohau then down the Waitaki and Waiareka Valleys to Weston and Oamaru. It could attract more than 40,000 visitors a year.
Yesterday, the Waitaki council called a special meeting to discuss the funding agreement.
Its corporate services manager, Stephen Halliwell, said the agreement would cement the partnership for the development of the cycleway, which would be overseen by the Mackenzie trust, including employing a project manager and monitoring expenditure.
The agreement imposed accountability requirements on the trust and each council.
Cr Struan Munro said the benefits from the trail, particularly for the Waitaki Valley, would be enormous, but Cr Alistair Mavor sounded a note of caution about the ongoing cost to ratepayers, which he hoped would not detract from other advantages.
Mr Halliwell said the council had already agreed to make a contribution towards the cycleway from Weston to Oamaru, which had been included in its Long Term Council Community Plan and subject to public consultation.
The project has been promoted by an establishment committee representing the community and two councils.
However, Mr Halliwell said a governance structure would be set up to operate and maintain the cycleway and the structure of that should go to the two councils about the middle of next year.
Chief executive Michael Ross said representatives of local authorities and organisations involved in five cycleways in the southern South Island would meet next week.
• The New Zealand Cycle Trail project will sign its contract for the new Clutha Gold Trail (Roxburgh to Beaumont section) at the Roxburgh Service Centre at 2pm today.
The funding agreement will be signed by New Zealand Cycle Trail programme manager John Dunn and Clutha Gold Trail Charitable Trust chairman Rod Peirce.
Mayors Juno Hayes and Malcolm Macpherson will also attend.