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A $4 million funding agreement between the New Zealand Cycle Trail and the Southland District Council has been described as clearing the way for construction of the Around the Mountains cycle trail to begin.
The trail was announced by Prime Minister John Key in July 2009 as one of seven potential ''Quick Start'' cycle trails in New Zealand.
NZ Cycle Trail project manager John Dunn said the new funding contract would enable the Southland District Council to start building the 175km trail. Southland Mayor Frana Cardno said the council was now working on getting the best price it could for tenders and hoped to be under way ''as soon as possible''.
''We are really excited and thank the community for all their support,'' she said.
''We are looking forward to completing this trail and seeing the positive impact on these communities.''
The trail would be completed in two stages, the first by October 31 this year and the second by December 2015. The trail winds from Walter Peak Station up the Von Valley to Mavora Lakes, then along the Oreti River to Mossburn and then to Lumsden.