Duntroon prepares for influx of cyclists

Duntroon wants to be ready to cater for thousands of cyclist when the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail opens.

A recent public meeting in Duntroon heard that the 314km-long cycle trail from Aoraki/Mt Cook to Oamaru will pass through their township before turning up the Maerewhenua Valley to the Waiareka Valley.

About 25 people were at the meeting called by the Duntroon and District Development Association.

Association chairman Mike Gray said the trail would mean lots of riders arriving in town requiring meals, accommodation, supplies and attractions.

"Duntroon has no garage or convenience store. There is one cafe and one tavern and virtually no accommodation. So an influx of tourists soon wanting to stay over is rather a big challenge for a small community," Mr Gray said.

Duntroon had a lot to offer - limestone formations like Elephant Rocks, the Duntroon Wetlands and Waitaki River, pre-European history with numerous Maori rock art sites and the stories of the Waitaha people.

Mr Gray said the colonial era saw the great estates established, with their homesteads, and the desire to find gold.

The rural growth left the town with a jail, early coach inn (Duntroon Tavern) and a national treasure in the Nicols Blacksmith Shop and historic churches.

The meeting decided to entrust the planning for the cycle trail to the development association, which would work with the Waitaki District Council and other agencies.

Liaising with Waitaki Valley towns was important to efficiently deliver a quality product all along the route.

"The next 12 months will be a real challenge for all concerned. Building the trail and fencing it is just the start. The underlying infrastructure exists in some towns, but it is seriously lacking in Duntroon," Mr Gray said.

One key infrastructure issue that needed to be addressed is the lack of a sewage system that could cope with further housing and business development within the village.

"These issues will be a real challenge for the community and the district to solve. We are ready to start that process and hope to meet council and other agencies as soon as we can."

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz


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