Funding uncertain for river walkway/cycleway
In Saturday's article on the proposed Taruheru River Walkway you reported that I voted against the report's recommendation to approve spending $62,000 as a contribution towards the anticipated $200,000 cost of a detailed business case to access external funding. The case study would explore building a cycleway along the Taruheru River between Mitre 10 and Campion Road. The structure would essentially be built on the riverbank or potentially in the riverbed. The budget for this is listed in the current LTP at $7.2m to be 100 percent externally funded. However, the report put to councillors last week said the council's contribution would be 32 percent or $2.3m. This is money that we simply do not have.
Furthermore, the council report noted in some detail that the national road funding agency Waka Kotahi has signalled funding will be very tight this round and their focus is on meeting current service obligations and not funding new projects. The report said that funding for cycling and walkways is likely to be oversubscribed, “ie there will be more projects nationally than money available”. In short, we are currently unlikely to succeed in securing Waka Kotahi funding for the Taruheru River Walkway/Cycleway.
In the circumstances, I could not support spending an unbudgeted $62,000 on a business case study for a $7.2m project we are unlikely to get funded.
Finally, the council report spoke about the need for cycleway users, principally students biking east to west to school, to be able to transit safely through town to the high schools. The report contained eight maps showing a variety of transit options west of where the cycleway currently ends at Aberdeen Road by Mitre 10. In my opinion the shared road option with a painted dedicated cycle lane along Aberdeen Road all the way to Lytton Road with arms off to the various schools provides a safe, immediate and affordable transit option for students biking to school.
Tony Robinson, Councillor