Rodney Local Board unanimously approved a comprehensive Greenways Plan at its June meeting, which aims to radically improve walking, cycle and bridle connections between Puhoi and Pakiri and, at the same time, enhance recreational opportunities and decrease dependence on fossil fuels for transport.
The dream of a world class recreational trail in the area was first floated by the Matakana Coast Trail Trust in 2014.
The ensuing plan was prepared collaboratively between the trust and other community and trail interest groups and through public consultation.
The backbone of the proposed plan is the already established Te Araroa National Trail, which runs from Cape Reinga to Bluff and through Rodney.
New trails will be added and existing trails upgraded to realise the Greenways Plan.
The plan will be reviewed on a regular basis as sections are completed.
So far, the plan has identified an initial 29 priority routes that are ready to undergo further investigation and design.
Now that the plan has been approved by the Rodney Local Board, the board will be ready to approve grants for feasibility studies and concept plans for individual routes.
Matakana Coast Trail Trust chair and Rodney Local Board member Allison Roe says when major trails such as the Big Omaha Trail, The Mahurangi Coast Trail and the Snells Beach to Warkworth Trail are joined up, they will be of national significance, a huge attraction to tourists and a boon to the local economy.
“It’s all about being free in the great outdoors on safe paths, and breathing in the most beautiful environments and scenery New Zealand has to offer,” she says.
She anticipates another benefit of the plan will be that cycle and walking trails will be incorporated as part of any new land subdivision, taking pressure off congested roads.
She says the Greenways projects will be achieved through a “shared responsibility approach” where many stakeholders contribute, along with local businesses and targeted fundraising, to realise each element of the plan.