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The Queenstown Trails Trust is hoping for strong public backing for a major extension to its network before the proposal goes before independent commissioners.
If successful, the $8 million proposal will add about 20km to the trust’s 130km-plus network in the Wakatipu Basin, and connect Arthurs Point, Tucker Beach and Arrowtown.
Submissions opened on Thursday and close on December 10.
Trust chief executive Mark Williams said Covid-19 had brought home to the community the value of the trails, and the submission process was an opportunity to give the project a "good nudge" because the commissioners would take notice of their views.
"It’s also about bringing domestic tourism back to Queenstown, and ultimately, once the borders reopen, it’s an asset that can draw in international tourism as well."
The beauty of the proposal was it was already fully funded, Mr Williams said.
"Now, we just have to get the consent across the line and we’re away."
Key features of the route between the Tucker Beach Trail and Arthurs Point were a new 80m suspension bridge over the Shotover River, a traverse of the Shotover Gorge and 100m-long old gold-mining tunnel.
From Big Beach, a linking trail would be built up to Atley Rd, while the main trail would head east, pass beneath Littles Rd and run along the foot of Coronet Peak.
It would later run beside Mill Creek before joining the network in Millbrook Resort.
If the project was approved, trail construction could start by next winter, he said.