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About $500,000 could be spent constructing two cycle and walkways in Oamaru and Weston under a proposal to be considered by the Waitaki District Council's committee of the whole on Tuesday.
The proposal is for the council to contribute $167,000 to the two projects, which would enable it to uplift a $338,000 contribution from the New Zealand Transport Agency before it is lost if not used by June next year.
The two projects being considered are commuter cycle and walkways from the Weston limeworks to State Highway 1 via Weston Rd and Westview Dr and in Oamaru from the Harbour north to Orwell St.
The Weston project is the more expensive at $400,000, paid for by $34,000 from council-held Resource Management Act (RMA) reserves, $98,000 from walking and cycling funds it already has and $268,000 from the agency subsidy.
The Oamaru walkway has been estimated at $105,000, with $35,000 from the RMA reserves and $70,000 from the subsidy.
Council recreation manager Erik van der Spek said the council's contribution would provide a return on investment of 300% with the subsidy.
"It's crucial a decision is made on funding as soon as possible to ensure the opportunity isn't lost - the NZTA subsidy must be used by June 2012," he said.
The council had proposed the two walkways in its 2009-19 community plan, but neither project had gone ahead.
In a report to Tuesday's meeting, Mr van der Spek said the Weston project comprised a cycle and walkway from Taylor's limeworks on the Weston-Ngapara Rd, along Weston Rd and Westview Dr. This section was also part of the Alps 2 Ocean cycleway from Mt Cook to Oamaru.
An existing cycle-walkway from Weston used the old railway corridor and exited at Saleyards Rd. However, the rail corridor was owned by KiwiRail and would be reinstated if Holcim NZ built its new cement plant near Weston.
If the cement plant did not proceed, the cycle-walkway could use the rail corridor and savings would be made, he said.
The Oamaru project would link with the existing cycle and walkway to Waitaki Boys' High School.
Both projects had been supported by public submissions and feedback to the council, including in the 2011-12 annual plan process.
Mr van der Spek said the council had an obligation to ensure opportunities for walking and cycling were supported.
The proposals addressed safety concerns for walkers and cyclists and were an excellent opportunity for the council to use the agency's subsidy for a relatively small investment.