New West Coast trail provides tourism boost thanks to PDU funding
Published: 7 December, 2020
The first stage of the West Coast’s newest cycling and walking trail is opening on Sunday 6 December 2020 with a major community celebration.
The Kawatiri Coastal Trail will eventually traverse 55 kilometres of spectacular West Coast scenery from Westport, around Cape Foulwind to the old gold rush mining town of Charleston.
On Sunday, the Pūwaha Section from Westport to Carters Beach will open, marked by a ribbon cutting and community event.
It is the first of nine sections of the trail to be finished after the project secured $9.36 million funding from the Provincial Development Unit.
Charleston-Westport Coastal Trail Trust Chairperson Richard Niederer says it’s a milestone worth celebrating.
“We have been working towards this for five years and to see the first stage successfully completed is a source of real satisfaction for the local community,” Richard Niederer says.
“Locals are proud to be able to show visitors our area’s unique geology, flora and fauna, rich Māori and European history, significant archaeological sites and inspiring seascapes.
“We have built it to be a Grade 2 family friendly cycle trail, so it is suitable for most ages, fitness and abilities,” Mr Niederer says.
“This a historic area and those using the trail will be following in the footsteps of ancient Māori and the 1860’s gold miners. I am confident that when it is completed, it will be one of New Zealand’s finest day rides.”
The remaining eight sections of the trail will be built over the next 18 months, with final completion expected by June 2022.
The project has been backed by the Provincial Development Unit, which provided $9.36 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to fully fund construction.
PDU spokesperson Warren Gilbertson will be representing the PDU at Sunday’s opening and says the project is impressive.
“Locals have been working on developing this project for five years now and thanks to West Coast PDU advisor Penny Bicknell’s efforts, the PDU was able to provide the funding to bring their vision to reality,” Warren Gilbertson says.
“Not only has this project created over 30 construction jobs, it has also provided an asset which will boost local tourism and provide more, longer term employment.”
Richard Niederer says Sunday’s opening is a chance for the local community to see the trail for themselves.
“We want everyone to come along and walk, cycle or run the new trail. Fancy dress is encouraged and there is also a wearable bike award,” he says.
“The key thing is for everyone to enjoy themselves because this is the start of an extraordinary West Coast adventure.”
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