Big Dreams on Auckland’s Sunshine Coast

Mar 07, 2022
Big Dreams on Auckland’s Sunshine Coast

Charmaine

Something exciting is coming to Auckland – a stunning coastal adventure trail spanning from Puhoi to Mangawhai. But it needs our support! Our friends at Matakana Coast Trail Trust write:

 

The Matakana Coast Trail Trust (MCTT) is dreaming big, as they announce ambitious plans for a dynamic trail network in Auckland’s fastest-growing region of Rodney. The MCTT was established in 2015 by a group of passionate local volunteers, including Founding Chair and high-profile athlete Allison Roe, whose vision is to create a multi-purpose trail network and secure public access to an area of outstanding natural beauty.

 

“I’m passionate about the benefits of cycling and how well-planned trails connect communities and have a truly measurable impact on our health, road safety, local economies, and the great Aotearoa New Zealand environment. Getting people out of cars has got to be good for them and the planet,” says Roe.

Children riding across a bridge on the Matakana trail

 

The announcement comes in the wake of Mayor Phil Goff’s proposed $1 billion climate change action package, along with a $228 million commitment for walking and cycling. “This is exciting news for us,” says MCTT Co-Chair Aidan Bennett, “as we partner with government agencies, private landowners, and iwi on the development of the trail, and realise our vision of a sustainable trail network, which will service and have untold benefits for the region.”

 

The project has been a collaboration at every level. Support has come from a diverse and broad range of sources, including Rodney Local Board, who are keen to see their Greenways Plan being converted into trails on the ground. Businesses are also wanting an opportunity to give back to their community, such as Hutchinson Consulting and Engineering, who are generously providing pro-bono assistance to help develop trail design and plans. 

 

The development of the trail will happen in three stages, span 117 kilometres from Pūhoi to Mangawhai, and cost just $50 million to complete. Once realised, it will provide significant economic opportunities, as well as strengthen the region’s social and cultural connections. Indeed, it is forecast to handle some 410,000 individual trips per year, which in turn will generate an estimated $93 million per year of economic and health benefits upon completion of stage one.

 

Crucially, stage one will connect the rapidly growing towns of Warkworth, Matakana, and Snells Beach, and deliver many environmental, recreational, and economic benefits for residents, the wider Auckland community, and tourists. The path will provide school students and residents of the three most populous towns in the area a real opportunity to commute to school or work by biking or walking.

 

A sum of $13.7 million has been earmarked to support the construction of Stage 1 of the trail, as part of the Climate Action Targeted Rate (CATR) financial forecasting plan. However, there is a risk these funds for 21kms of new cycleway could be diverted to other projects.

The Trust are encouraging people who love cycling and see the benefits it can provide, to get online and make a submission in support of the cycleway New Zealand’s largest city needs and deserves.

 

Bike Auckland will publish a submission guide for the Climate Action Targeted Rate (CATR), including information on how to support the Matakana Coastal Trail, in the coming days.

 

Craig Donaldson, MCTT Co-Chair, says: “The trail network will also play a vital role in the region’s post-Covid economic recovery and provide commercial benefits to the tune of $161 million per annum when the trail has been completed. It will also enhance the broader tourism and economic development strategies for the greater Auckland and Northland regions.”

 

The MCTT’s newly launched website www.mctt.org.nz outlines the history of the project, including the three development stages, progress to date, and plans. They intend to inform and engage with the community as they share their bold new vision for future-proofing the region’s social and economic prosperity.

A family enjoying the Matakana trail.

 

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