$9m of cycleway funding vanishes

EDITORIAL

With major infrastructure funding priorities looming, a big loser in the council’s draft Long-Term Plan (LTP) is cycleways — despite being strongly supported by the public, championed by the Mayor, and attracting two-thirds funding from the NZ Transport Agency when integral to an urban cycling network.

The council has budgeted just $1.85 million over 2018-2028 for cycleways, to maintain and make safety improvements to existing on- and off-road cycle routes, and for “projects committed to”. Presumably the lion’s share of that is for the cycle link from Kaiti to the city, which will be completed in the first year of the plan with 65 percent funding from NZTA.

The council’s 2015-2025 LTP budgeted $9m for walking/cycling intersection and route safety improvements, $6.5m of that over the next seven years. This has gone from the new 10-year plan.

There is also no mention in the consultation document of the Te Kuri Cycleway — the proposal to extend the Oneroa Cycleway out to the Waipaoa River, and eventually Muriwai, which the Mayor campaigned on in his successful 2013 election bid. The 2015 10-year plan budgeted $2.85m for this project in years 2019-21.

While its “preferred option” is to not spend any money on it, the council says its “main focus” regarding cycleways is the proposed Taruheru route — extending the riverside walk and cycleway all the way to Campion College, which has an estimated cost of $7.3m.

The council has pencilled it in for construction from 2021-2024, to be fully funded externally. A document from council workshops late last year listed this proposed cycleway as one of three priority projects it would like to partner with Eastland Community Trust on. Apparently NZTA does not require a council partner, just a “local share” to attract its 65 percent funding — which would be $4.7m, alongside $2.6m of local investment.

The LTP consultation document lists “another option” as the council investing $2.4m in the Taruheru Cycleway, “which would take us over the peak debt level of $100m in 2023”, but “may give us more chance to secure external funding and complete the cycleway in the time frame we’re aiming for”.

With major infrastructure funding priorities looming, a big loser in the council’s draft Long-Term Plan (LTP) is cycleways — despite being strongly supported by the public, championed by the Mayor, and attracting two-thirds funding from the NZ Transport Agency when integral to an urban cycling network.

The council has budgeted just $1.85 million over 2018-2028 for cycleways, to maintain and make safety improvements to existing on- and off-road cycle routes, and for “projects committed to”. Presumably the lion’s share of that is for the cycle link from Kaiti to the city, which will be completed in the first year of the plan with 65 percent funding from NZTA.

The council’s 2015-2025 LTP budgeted $9m for walking/cycling intersection and route safety improvements, $6.5m of that over the next seven years. This has gone from the new 10-year plan.

There is also no mention in the consultation document of the Te Kuri Cycleway — the proposal to extend the Oneroa Cycleway out to the Waipaoa River, and eventually Muriwai, which the Mayor campaigned on in his successful 2013 election bid. The 2015 10-year plan budgeted $2.85m for this project in years 2019-21.

While its “preferred option” is to not spend any money on it, the council says its “main focus” regarding cycleways is the proposed Taruheru route — extending the riverside walk and cycleway all the way to Campion College, which has an estimated cost of $7.3m.

The council has pencilled it in for construction from 2021-2024, to be fully funded externally. A document from council workshops late last year listed this proposed cycleway as one of three priority projects it would like to partner with Eastland Community Trust on. Apparently NZTA does not require a council partner, just a “local share” to attract its 65 percent funding — which would be $4.7m, alongside $2.6m of local investment.

The LTP consultation document lists “another option” as the council investing $2.4m in the Taruheru Cycleway, “which would take us over the peak debt level of $100m in 2023”, but “may give us more chance to secure external funding and complete the cycleway in the time frame we’re aiming for”.

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