Press Release: Council to investigate “Heartland Ride”

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Southland District Council is to investigate completing the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail as a “Heartland Ride.”

Council agreed at its meeting today to investigate the “Heartland Ride” option, which would see the Centre Hill and Mavora Lakes Roads being used to complete the trail from Centre Hill to Walter Peak.

Council Mayor Gary Tong said this option provides Council a holding option for a time to allow the trail to be completed and marketed as a complete ride and to consider how to develop the trail to the Great Ride standard and how that could be funded.

“We considered three options of doing nothing, the “Heartland Ride” and the Great Ride. We cannot do nothing as we have contractual agreements with funders, including Central Government, to complete a Great Ride from Kingston to Walter Peak. We don’t believe we can develop a Great Ride at this time because of the costs, which are estimated to be in the range of $3 million to $6 million,” Mr Tong said.

Staff will now prepare a detailed business case for completing the trail as a “Heartland Ride” for a period of time. This will include costs, risks and funding options. Staff will also negotiate with funders about a variation to the contracts.

Council is withdrawing its appeal to the High Court and has also reached agreement with Fish and Game Southland over costs after Fish and Game won the Environment Court appeal against the consent for the trail to go down the Oreti River. Council is to pay Fish and Game $175,000 for its costs.

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