Last week's announcement of a $14m funding investment for the Way To Go (W2G) collaboration provides a welcome boost in improvements to Queenstown's walking and cycling trails.
Way To Go (W2G) is a collaboration between Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC), Otago Regional Council (ORC) and New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). This funding announcement provides a positive step towards the strategic goals of both the Queenstown Trails Trust (QTT) and the Queenstown Transport Strategy through a welcome boost in improvements to our walking and cycling trails.
QTT was established primarily to develop a recreational trail network for locals and visitors, but recent rapid population growth in the region and work with QLDC and the agencies has refocused attention upon the need for safe, off-road and integrated trails to be more commuter friendly and provide a means of alternative active transport.
Priority trail routes identified in the Wakatipu Active Transport Business Case overlap with QTT's 10 year plan, linking rapidly growing residential areas back to commercial hubs – in particular the suburbs of Lake Hayes Estate/Shotover Country and Jacks Point/Hanley’s Farm back to Frankton and the Wakatipu High School.
QTT is lucky to get fantastic support from our community, council and local landowners and that support has enabled us to become expert at the long work of establishing trails. There are sometimes challenges and we often have many hurdles to clear before we can stitch together entire easements for new trails. The goalposts often move and sometimes the only opportunity to develop a trail comes by being patient. In many cases, the development and/or re-zoning of private land provides us with a chance to submit for the provision of public access (whilst neither supporting nor opposing any specific application).
This situation has played out recently with the residential development between Jacks Point and Frankton – where QTT faced an impasse despite its best efforts. However the recent approval of a new Special Housing Area has allowed Way 2 Go to identify a safe, off-road route well away from the SH6, as a route beside the highway would be subsequently conflicted and severed by access lanes into the new developments, making it unsuitable.
The news of NZTA's support for QLDC’s Active Travel Network is a welcome investment for all trail users in our community and we fully endorse and support these welcome trail additions.
QTT is currently focusing its attention on establishing the off-road trail from Arrowtown to Arthur's Point and down the Shotover River to Tucker Beach, having achieved a significant level of funding and support.
100% of funds raised from the Queenstown community via the generous support of our Friends of the Trust will go towards the QTT Trail Expansion Project, for more information see the links below.
For more info:
- Read about the Queenstown Trail Expansion Project HERE
- Download the Queenstown Trail's 10 year plan 'Queenstown Trails for the Future 2015-2025'
- Read the ODT article ''NZTA approves $14m for active travel network''
- Find out more about the Wakatipu Way to Go collaboration HERE
- Help QTT build more trails by supporting our work - become a Friend of the Trust HERE
- For any further information please contact Mark Williams, QTT CEO on firstname.lastname@example.org