Dunedin to Oamaru cycle trail - $100m potential

Gary Kircher
Gary Kircher
A cycle trail connecting Oamaru and Dunedin could bring in more than $100 million in visitor spending from outside Otago in its first 20 years.

The 195km coastal recreational trail would take two years and about $14 million to build.

An initial $80,000 feasibility study commissioned by the Waitaki District Council and the Dunedin City Council last year, is set to be discussed at the city council’s economic development committee on Monday.

It shows the trail would create 45 full-time jobs each year over the two years proposed to build the track, and then support 54 full-time jobs a year for the next 20 years.

The project would require inclusion by the councils in their coming long-term plans and would connect to the 301km Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail from Mt Cook to Oamaru.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the district council was keen to get on with the planning.

The trail promised to be a significant attraction for the areas it passed through, boosting visitor numbers and showcasing coastal scenery and wildlife.

‘‘It would be something quite special,’’ he said. ‘‘We look forward to seeing some progress on it.’’

The study authors project 24,700 trail users a year once the trail has been completed - 50% would local users, 40% domestic visitors and 10% international tourists.

Visitor spending, health and consumer surplus benefits, and the creation of local jobs were all benefits, city council transport planner Stacey Hitchcock advises.

Based on the upkeep of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, estimated maintenance costs were $283,500 a year, assuming an average cost of $1500 per kilometre.

There had been no assessment of ground or other environmental conditions, she said.

And while the off-road ‘‘world-class iconic experience’’ could attract government co-funding of construction costs, including from the New Zealand Cycle Trail enhancement and extension fund and Provincial Growth Fund, ‘‘these relatively recent funds may be fully allocated or otherwise unavailable for cycle trails in the future’’.

Recreation cycle trails are not funded through the National Land Transport Plan at present.

Risks associated with the construction include negotiating access for the trail over private land; potential effects of coastal erosion; and possible engineering issues associated with low-lying areas and bridging the Waianakarua and Waikouaiti Rivers.

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins was approached for comment.


- Additional reporting Molly Houseman 



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$100m for 100 full time jobs over 20 years? are we brain dead? If it is such a great money spinner let the private market do it. What a waste of ratepayer money to benefit the few special interest groups. PS Construction costs for all such projects notoriously tend to be underestimated- they tend to be one-third of the initial costs- also a reflection of council competency with our money (think Dunedin stadium). Also the study forgets to factor in the weather. The rail trail is reasonably sheltered, this trail would be open to southerlies- so the numbers of 500 per week is another hopium factor.

While it sounds a wonderful idea in principle, it is hard to see why ratepayers should have to pay for such overly ambitious projects. The timing is wrong and I strongly suspect their figures are wrong too. It's all just so wrong on so many levels. We need a complete overhaul of how our councils work to stop this continual bleeding of ratepayers money for pet project ideas. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against this or some of the other ideas, just how they are conceived and how they are funded.

This is a link in a chain, and connecting Dunedin to that chain is an excellent plan. Isolated by itself the costs may be hard to justify, but as a part of a larger whole it's a good call. As for sheltered, you have obviously not tried to ride the OCRT out of Middlemarch when the Taieri Pet is blowing!

Just who did the sums on this one?
The last tiny bit of the Dunedin to Pt Chalmers route is costing tax and ratepayers $31 million. Fact.
But the rest of the way to Oamaru will just cost $114 million. Pure fiction, just like the idea of 24,700 users per year.
Do the greens and lycra mob really think people are completely stupid? Actually we must be, the cost for tracks around Dunedin is already over $100 million and the tunnels ideas will add many more.
And if you don't believe the $100 million do the sums yourself on it.

Read the article again. The figures are even more of a joke than you think.
"The 195km coastal recreational trail would take two years and about $14 million to build."

Clearly the Doubting Toms have not tried the Otago Rail Trail or Alps 2 Ocean. Both have input huge sums into local communities and are used by anything but ‘special interest groups’. Only the elite few would attempt it in a one day dash, regular mortals take several days, staying overnight in all sorts of places, eating sleeping, spending (not necessarily in that order. Combined with a Taieri Gorge train trip we can go from Mt Cook to Alexandra. I’m a starter, for one, when is launch date?

Pathetic waste of money - this is the type of idea the DCC would conjure up.

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