Council support for cycle rail trail feasibility study

Concern raised over support for freight.

Concern raised over support for freight.

APART from one strong dissenting voice, Gisborne District Council supports a feasibility study into the possibility of a rail cycle trail between Gisborne and Napier.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown opposed Mayor Meng Foon’s recommendation to support the study and asked that her vote against be recorded.

She supported those who took a petition to Parliament to save the rail.

There were a lot of projects sitting at the moment. She would like to see the Wainui to city cycleway completed and the Motu trails running effectively, she said.

“I am not supportive of this project in that we have a whole lot of other cycleways.

“Our priority for cycleways is to get a group of students safely to school. It just does not fit into our current workload.

“I am wholeheartedly behind the rail group that is supportive of the rail line being used for what it is intended for.

“I think it is an honourable thing for them.”

She wrote to the politicians because it was an election year and “I believe in miracles’’.

Mr Foon said all he was asking the council to do was support the process. No money was being sought.

“You have got a billion-dollar line and it is a shame it is not used to its max,” he said.

Brian Wilson said it was a good idea to have a back-up plan like this.

But the council had to go in with its eyes open. There were issues such as safety.

He was really interested in cycle trails and wanted to ride them all.

The big issue he saw was who looked after the maintenance. The council could get income only “very indirectly.” There needed to be a strong governance group.

In all the other cases, while there might be a trust involved, it was the local council that looked after it.

“We have to keep that in mind.”

The council could only get an income from the trail very indirectly — it could not charge anything.

“Yes, I would love that to be a cycle trail because it is such a fantastic route, especially from here to Nuhaka. That is the best part of the route,” Mr Wilson said.

Larry Foster said it would be the first airport-to-airport rail trail in New Zealand and a great asset for the region.

Pat Seymour said this was about getting the project to the next stage. No money was being sought now.

Graeme Thomson said the feasibility study would show whether Mrs Akuhata Brown was right or wrong.

Amber Dunn said the council was in a tricky position because it was also being asked to support freight. She questioned how the line could be used when there were two large dropouts.

Andy Cranston said the process now should be to set up a strong governance group with a clear direction.

APART from one strong dissenting voice, Gisborne District Council supports a feasibility study into the possibility of a rail cycle trail between Gisborne and Napier.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown opposed Mayor Meng Foon’s recommendation to support the study and asked that her vote against be recorded.

She supported those who took a petition to Parliament to save the rail.

There were a lot of projects sitting at the moment. She would like to see the Wainui to city cycleway completed and the Motu trails running effectively, she said.

“I am not supportive of this project in that we have a whole lot of other cycleways.

“Our priority for cycleways is to get a group of students safely to school. It just does not fit into our current workload.

“I am wholeheartedly behind the rail group that is supportive of the rail line being used for what it is intended for.

“I think it is an honourable thing for them.”

She wrote to the politicians because it was an election year and “I believe in miracles’’.

Mr Foon said all he was asking the council to do was support the process. No money was being sought.

“You have got a billion-dollar line and it is a shame it is not used to its max,” he said.

Brian Wilson said it was a good idea to have a back-up plan like this.

But the council had to go in with its eyes open. There were issues such as safety.

He was really interested in cycle trails and wanted to ride them all.

The big issue he saw was who looked after the maintenance. The council could get income only “very indirectly.” There needed to be a strong governance group.

In all the other cases, while there might be a trust involved, it was the local council that looked after it.

“We have to keep that in mind.”

The council could only get an income from the trail very indirectly — it could not charge anything.

“Yes, I would love that to be a cycle trail because it is such a fantastic route, especially from here to Nuhaka. That is the best part of the route,” Mr Wilson said.

Larry Foster said it would be the first airport-to-airport rail trail in New Zealand and a great asset for the region.

Pat Seymour said this was about getting the project to the next stage. No money was being sought now.

Graeme Thomson said the feasibility study would show whether Mrs Akuhata Brown was right or wrong.

Amber Dunn said the council was in a tricky position because it was also being asked to support freight. She questioned how the line could be used when there were two large dropouts.

Andy Cranston said the process now should be to set up a strong governance group with a clear direction.

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Gillian Ward - 2 years ago
Thank you councillor Akuhata-Brown for reminding the Mayor and other councillors of the need for the railway line to carry rail freight at the council meeting on Thursday. The NZ Transport Agency is currently developing an Integrated Transport Priority Plan for the East Coast and this will consider the benefit that rail freight and tourism could bring. The Regional Transport Committee along with Hawke's Bay Regional Council is involved in developing this plan, and businesses will be invited to contribute as well. The managers of Coxco, Kaiaponi Farms, LeaderBrand, Ovation and Four Seasons have said in The Gisborne Herald that their businesses would benefit from the flexibility and security that the option of rail freight, in addition to coastal shipping and road transport, would bring. Weatherell Transport showed how well freight of chilled produce could be transported by rail in 2012, following KiwiRail's investment in bringing the line up to modern standards.
The council could be supporting the local initiative to get rail freight and excursion trains restarted, which would boost business confidence and employment in Gisborne, rather than supporting an entrepreneur from Auckland with his rail bike venture, or a feasibility study to consider removing or filling in between the rails to develop a cycle trail. There are too many trucks on SH2. Another land transport option would be a huge advantage. We have a railway line - let's make it work for us!

Tikei Te Ahuahu Pere - 2 years ago
Well done to councillor Meredith Akuhata-Brown, the one lone, brave voice for reminding the Gisborne councillors and our illustrious Mayor of the need to bring back our railway line for what its original intention and purpose was - to end our city's ongoing isolation and take the pressure off our already overstretched roads with an efficient transport service for both passengers and goods alike. A tourist cycle track simply does not do that. The people of Gisborne know that, iwi know that and a growing movement of ratepayers know that. It seems that our GDC, which has served us faithfully in the past, on this one issue alone now seems to be failing us so miserably.
It would appear that many of our councillors and long-serving Mayor have been in their jobs for so long that they have simply run out of ideas on this kaupapa. Worse still, they have lost touch with the people of Gisborne for various reasons. Now those of us who wish to see a resumption of our beloved Gisborne railway service have a brave champion to rally behind - someone who has found their own voice and is not afraid to speak their mind on this emotive issue. We need to ask this one question: Is this the best the GDC can do?
Councillor Meredith Akuhata-Brown believes not and has spoken out. We need to support her stance and tell the GDC what they can do with their tourist cycle track. Our GDC would be wise to take note that tourists don't vote in council elections, we do. The GDC needs to listen to the people, otherwise the people can always elect a new GDC led by Meredith Akuhata-Brown for Mayor 2020. Otherwise, until a proper solution is found, they would be wise to "Leave our rail line alone!"

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