Media release: Expressions of interest sought for cycle trail trust

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Expressions of interest are being sought from potential candidates for a trust to govern the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail.

Southland District Council is considering the formation of a trust for the trail - a 186km journey which is one of 22 certified Great Rides in New Zealand. It travels from Walter Peak to Kingston, or reverse, and has attracted over 3000 cyclists during the recent summer season.

SDC commercial infrastructure manager Ashby Brown said the formation of a trust would have considerable benefits for the asset.

“We believe this is the right direction to take the trail to ensure it continues to evolve and truly reaches its potential,” Mr Brown said.

Council was eager to receive expressions of interest from prospective trustees by emailing info@aroundthemountains.co.nz

“We’re keen to hear from people passionate about the cycle trail and Southland as a whole, who have a level of appreciation for governance and the relevant skills and experience complementary to a trust of this nature.”

While details were still to be finalised, the proposed trust structure would see Council retain ownership of the asset and all associated intellectual property, together with responsibility for asset management and maintenance.

Responsibilities of the trust would be focused on the user experience, partnership with commercial operators, marketing and new project development.

The trust initiative was first mooted following a visit from the New Zealand Cycle Trails board in September last year.

“Successful trails throughout New Zealand operate with a trust established for governance which has improved the user experience and resulted in greater involvement from the community,” Mr Brown said.

“It also unlocks additional funding streams not available to councils which could have a positive impact on the development of the trail itself and ultimately the communities along it as a flow on effect.”

Feedback was positive at two community meetings held with stakeholders in Lumsden.

“There was a real desire to work together and take more responsibility for the user experience and the development of the trail itself,” Mr Brown said.

A report recommending the formation of the trust will be discussed by Council’s services and assets committee on 13 July If approved, a final decision will be sought from Council on 4 August.

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