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The value of the Otago Central Rail Trail to the Central Otago economy is significant. It has contributed to creating new business opportunities, helped to conserve and celebrate Central Otago’s rich heritage, increased visitor numbers to the district and helped to revive a number of small communities.
With the number of users increasing every year, now in excess of 12,000 per annum who travel the whole 150km and tens of thousands more who enjoy sections of the Trail, the need has arisen to develop a long term plan to ensure a sustainable future for the Otago Central Rail Trail.
In May 2011, the Central Otago District Council facilitated a workshop in Omakau that attracted approximately 100 participants. These represented a range of the organisations, businesses, individuals, stakeholders and communities that have been impacted by or interested in the Rail Trail. From this meeting, a working group was formed to help develop the plan by providing constructive feedback and recommendations for action.
The Plan addresses a range of issues including: desire to keep the trails character consistent with its natural setting, greater focus on railway heritage (including returning of old stations) on the Rail Trail, improving and building on the customer experience in terms of both service delivered and infrastructure available for example, cell phone coverage and more toilets, as well as better marketing and promotions of the Trail.
‘This is a great opportunity to contribute your thoughts and ideas to ensure the Otago Central Rail Trail retains its position as the premier Rail Trail experience in New Zealand’ said Daphne Hull, Chair of Otago Central Rail Trail Trust
Copies of the draft Plan are available from Central Otago District Council, the Alexandra i-Site and Library, Ranfurly i-Site and Service Centre, the Four Square and Dairy in Clyde, Middlemarch Dairy, Omakau Four Square and on www.codc.govt.nz and www.centralotagonz.com
We welcome everybody’s feedback. Submissions close on Friday 14 October 2011.