A Bridge too far...

Dear The Golden Bay Mountain Bike Club

Pohara to Takaka Cycleway Update

First, a big thank you for all your submissions. It’s really buoying to read some wonderful and heart-felt words in favour of our project.
We received a total of 205 submissions, of which 159 were in support, 43 opposing, 2 neutral and 1 mixed.
Our plan at this point was to proceed to a hearing.  TDC gave us an estimate for the cost of the hearing - this was between $65K and $94K. To date we have paid them just over $10K for work done so far. They require a $60K deposit before we can proceed to the hearing. This is well beyond the amount of money we can raise easily.
However another issue has intervened.
The route is partly on TDC land and partly on Crown land. Crown land is managed by LINZ, and they do not allow private groups to build structures on Crown land; instead they require the structures to be owned by an organisation such as TDC, and for TDC to (amongst other things) guarantee that they will maintain the structures.
We first came across this issue with the cycle track / boardwalk we built south from Paynes Ford. TDC was most helpful and agreed to take over ownership of the boardwalk and sign the agreement with LINZ.
We had an informal discussion with TDC’s Community Services Manager in early 2012 and he indicated that there should be no problem with TDC doing a similar thing for our planned route down the Motupipi sandspit.
In December 2012 we officially requested TDC permission for us to:
·         build a boardwalk on TDC land beside the Golf Course
·         build the bridge, one side of which will be on TDC land
·         for TDC to take over ownership of the bridge and agree to maintain it, as per LINZ’s requirement
We cannot build our cycleway unless TDC agrees to all these requests.
TDC staff recommended to Council that all three requests be declined.
This was discussed at a meeting of the full Council on 27th June 2013. At this meeting the council:
·         declined to take over ownership of the cycleway and bridge
·         declined to maintain  the cycleway and bridge
·         declined to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with LINZ
·         agreed to review these decisions including request to occupy council land when the outcome of the resource  consent application is known
The reason given was that TDC was not prepared to accept the costs of maintaining the track and bridge.
As a result we have no choice but to abandon our project. With great regret.
So endeth a brave and hopeful attempt by a private group to build a cycleway on public land. It seems that, in the Tasman District at least, this is a very difficult thing to do. If we wish to have cycleways in Golden Bay we will have no choice but to lobby TDC to build them, at obvious cost to the ratepayer.

So how much would this have cost TDC?

TDC staff estimated that the costs for maintaining the bridge and boardwalk will be about $20K per year.
This is comprised of:
·         $10,000 for 5 engineering inspections of the bridge. The cost of $2000 per inspection is likely to be based on 2 days of engineer’s time per inspection.
·         $2,500 - $3,000 for general maintenance of the track including litter removal and the clearing of encroaching vegetation. Note that we offered for members of the Society to do this task for free.
·         $3,500 - $4,000 for “cleaning the surface of the boardwalk”, re-fixing any loose nails/boards etc.
·         in addition there will be costs associated with inspecting the boardwalk plus maintenance costs for the bridge. TDC have no cost estimates for these.
While these figures can be debated, $20K is not a lot of money for maintenance of what will be a well-used community asset.
In addition there will be some other costs:
·         $130K every 15-25 years for recoating of the bridge steelwork (our estimate). The bridge will be constructed in 2014 at the earliest, so this cost will not be required until 2029 at the earliest.
·         $95K to renew the Resource Consent “the timing of which will depend on the timeframe given to the current consent application”.
The Resource Consent will only have to be “renewed” if we are granted a Resource Consent, and we do not commence work until after it has expired. This will not happen. For the TDC staff to imply that this is a cost that will be incurred is very misleading.

Abel Tasman Drive Route

A cycleway beside Abel Tasman Drive is in TDC Transportation Plan. It has an estimated cost of $1.2 million (uninflated 2011 cost).
Planning work for this cycleway was started in 2009; however this was halted in 2011 and removed from the long term plan.
TDC have reiterated that they intend to build this, but with every successive year it has been put back a further year:
·         in 2011 TDC said that work will re-commence on this in 2022 at the earliest
·         in 2012 TDC said that work will re-commence on this in 2023 at the earliest
·         in 2013 TDC said that work will re-commence on this in 2024 at the earliest
Clearly, TDC have demonstrated little commitment to this.
If residents of eastern Golden Bay wish to have a safe cycle route to Takaka their only option is to lobby TDC to bring the date for this forward. It will not happen unless this is done.
We will be having our AGM in August; this will be an opportunity for this issue to be discussed fully.
So, once again, a huge thank you for the support you have given us. It’s certainly not the end of our group; we have plans for other cycle/walkways which we will continue with. The first being the continuation of the Paynes Ford to East Takaka section.
On behalf of the hard working committee,
Wouter de Maat
Golden Bay Cycle and Walkways Society Inc