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Enterprise North Canterbury (ENC) has submitted an application to the Provinicial Growth Fund for a business case on a new off-road cycleway between the Waimakariri River and the Waipara wine region.
Tentatively named ‘Wheels to Waipara’, the proposal is for a 65 km recreational off-road scenic cycle trail extending from the Waimakariri River to the Waipara wine region, following a primarily coastal route around Pegasus Bay. With the ability to link in to existing cycle trails in Christchurch and further north the trail will offer multi-day ride options and an opportunity for a return train journey on the Coastal Pacific Great Journey train service, scheduled to open in late 2018.
“It’s obviously very early in the planning stages, but we are optimistic,” says ENC Chief Executive Heather Warwick, who has driven the application with support from other interested parties. “A cycleway of this calibre would do amazing things for our region.
“We envisage that within 15 minutes of landing at Christchurch International Airport, visitors can be standing on the banks of the stunning Waimakariri River and ready to begin a journey of discovery through North Canterbury’s ecological and cultural taonga, culminating with arrival at the Waipara wine region, an area on the cusp of international renown for its exquisite wine making.
“The geographical spread and range of attractions for visitors along the route and on connecting routes will ensure a wide and diverse distribution of benefits to local communities and community groups.”
Through the Provincial Growth Fund, central government has committed to investing $1billion per annum over three years to regional economic development, aiming to lift productivity potential in the provinces.
If the cycle trail business case application is approved, local funding partners and donors will be identified, and an additional application made to the Provincial Growth Fund for a share of the construction funding.