'Gold-plated' coastal pathway officially opened

A 10-year wait for a coastal path along Christchurch's Estuary edge is over.

The Christchurch Coastal Pathway, a 6.5km shared walking and cycling route from Ferrymead to Scarborough Beach, has been officially opened - but it could be the last one for a while.

Waka Kotahi NZTA has put funding for cycling, walking and public transport initiatives on hold nation-wide until the government gives it a clear direction on its transport investment priorities.

The agency said the decision also applies to its commitments already made to councils and other organisations.

Christchurch Deputy Mayor Pauline Cotter said the new route was already proving popular.

"What we have here is a world-class scenic pathway that is loved and appreciated by the many who are already out enjoying it.

"As will many, many more in the future to come. This is a true legacy for Ōtautahi."

The first users of the Coastal Pathway set off. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The first users of the Coastal Pathway set off. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The shared pathway is a joint project between Christchurch City Council and  Christchurch Coastal Pathway Group.

It was funded with $15.8 million from the Government’s shovel-ready projects fund and topped up with $1.5 million from council.

Heathcote Ward councillor Sara Templeton said it was great to see it finally opened.

"This has been probably the most expensive, most gold-plated, most over-engineered of all our sustainable transport infrastructure. But it has had enormous support across the board."

Waka Kotahi's decision to pause funding means plans for more cycleways are on hold.

In the lead-up to the election, now Minister of Transport Simeon Brown accused Labour of using money from the road maintenance budget to fund cycleways and bus lanes.

He said National will look at restoring the primary purpose of the National Land Transport Fund, which is to build and maintain the roading network.

- By Geoff Sloan
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air