Monday, May 27, 2024
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Wheels Start Turning on New Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail

Construction commences this month on the newest cycle trail in Central Otago, The Lake Dunstan Trail.

Running from Clyde to Cromwell, the 52 kilometre trail will pass New Zealand’s third largest hydroelectric dam – the Clyde Dam – then along the Cromwell Gorge towards picturesque Cornish Point and nearby the renowned wine growing area of Bannockburn. It will continue along Lake Dunstan, through Cromwell towards an area just west of Pisa Moorings.

On May 20 contractors will begin building the trail from Cromwell towards Clyde. A ceremony will be held with key partners and stakeholders at that time. The trail will be open early summer for the 2019-2020 season. 

The Lake Dunstan Trail will extend, and complement, the well-established Great Rides of the Otago Central Rail Trail and the newer Roxburgh Gorge Trail, both of which are part of Nga Haerenga – The New Zealand Cycle Trail.

The Lake Dunstan Trail project is being driven by the Central Otago Queenstown Trail Network Trust and is the first of five projects the Trust is focused on. 

“Its scale will be of international significance, offering operators and promotional bodies a substantial product to market to the world,” says Trust chairman Stephen Jeffery. “It will provide a compelling reason for visitors to stay longer in our region, providing extra jobs and income to our communities.

“We are simultaneously working on the link through to Queenstown and then, we will develop the trail through to Luggate, near Wanaka.”

Feasibility studies for the Lake Dunstan Trail date back to 2014. The Trust subsequently was successful in securing funding from Central Government, with then Prime Minister John Key announcing a contribution of $13.15 million at a function at Carrick Winery in May 2016. It signalled Central Government’s tripartite funding agreement with Central Lakes Trust and the Otago Community Trust, matching the government’s support with $11.5 million from Central Lakes Trust and $2 million from Otago Community Trust.  

Central Lakes Trust CEO Susan Finlay says she is delighted about the commencement of the network’s construction. “This is a huge initiative for our region, which will create a world-class trail network traversing some of New Zealand’s most stunning landscapes.

“Not only that, it will be a fantastic regional asset linking our communities together. More than 80 per cent of residents will live within half an hour of the trail which will pass through almost 30 local communities, once completed,” she says.

Otago Community Trust chair Ross McRobie says he was excited to hear that the first of the five trail projects being developed by the Central Otago Queenstown Trail Network Trust, was about to commence.

“I wished to acknowledge the huge effort that the Central Otago Queenstown Trail Network Trust had put in to gain such substantial funding from both Local Funders and Central Government for all five projects,” he says. “It is very exciting that construction of the Clyde to Cromwell trail is beginning, as it would bring a unique and accessible biking trail to the Central Otago Community.”

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