Only one submission on company

A proposal to run the new Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail through a company owned by the Waitaki and Mackenzie district councils has attracted very little public opposition in the Waitaki district.

The 314km trail, which is being developed with a $2.75 million grant from the Government, is a joint venture between the two councils, the Mackenzie Tourism and Development Trust and the New Zealand Cycle Trail project.

It is being promoted as a major tourist attraction with the potential to significantly boost the economies of the townships it passes through.

To operate, maintain and promote the trail, the two councils are setting up a council-controlled organisation (company) called A2O Limited, but before doing that they have to consult the public.

The Waitaki council has received a submission from the Duntroon District Association supporting the company but making several suggestions.

That submission will be heard by the council on May 19, with a decision being made on May 31.

The two councils chose a company structure for the Alps 2 Ocean trail in contrast to the Central Otago rail trail which is run by a charitable trust.

Several options for managing the trail were investigated, but the company structure was chosen because there would be no long-term financial recourse to ratepayers and it would be business-like and professional; accountable, representative of the community and stakeholders; able to sign access agreements, attract investment and carry on business; and it would be free from political bias, triennial uncertainty and excessive conservatism.

Both councils strongly believe the cycle trail is a significant project that will provide vast economic and social benefits to the two districts.

"This proposal [the company] represents the best way forward to maximise these benefits with as little as possible imposition on ratepayers," they said.


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