The Council is very pleased with the Ministry of Tourism’s announcement that they will provide $100,000 for a feasibility study of the proposed “Alps to Ocean” cycle track. The Ministry short listed 13 trails from 54 projects across New Zealand to enter the feasibility study stage. The Ministry could potentially fund a further $2.75 Million of the design and construction cost.
The proposed 300km multiple access points cycle trail starts at the foot of Aoraki / Mt Cook and ends in Oamaru at the waters edge. Riders will cycle through Lake Ohau, Otematata, Omarama, Kurow, Duntroon, and Tokarahi in the Waireka Valley. The trail will develop new tracks and link up with existing trails.
The joint feasibility study will justify the expense and identify the merits of the proposal based on consultation with the community and other stakeholders. The deadline for the feasibility study is May 31.
If the Ministry approves the conclusions of feasibility study, Council will then need to jointly prepare a business case study focusing on the economic benefits of the trail. A final decision from the Ministry of Tourism is expected in October 2010.
The “Alps to Ocean” trail will be a major boost for tourism in the region and an opportunity to be a part of the rapidly growing cycle tourism market. The trail is will highlight the unique landscapes of the Waitaki, Hydro Dams, Fossil Trail and Victorian Oamaru. Construction of the cycle trail will also be a boost to local employment.
Mayor Alex Familton has congratulated the project team saying that “this is exceptionally good news” and that “it is great to have a project like this.”
A map of the proposed route is attached. Discussions around the final route will be part of the feasibility study process.