By Mick Jensen
round has been broken on a new walking and biking track that runs west towards the hills and parallel with the Ashburton River.
The track project could be open by Christmas and is being developed by Rotary Club of Ashburton with strong support from Environment Canterbury (ECan).
It will feature a one-way grassed track of around eight kilometres in length.
Driving the project for Rotary is Roger West, who was involved in the popular Lake Hood River Trail developed by the club a number of years ago.
Mr West said a bulldozer had been in to clear much of the proposed track in recent weeks and grass seed had just been sown.
Access would be from the south west side of the Tinwald Bridge and it was hoped to have the track open by the end of the year if all went to plan.
He said the idea for the track had been mooted by ECan, whose land it was on, around three months ago and he had proposed it to Rotary.
The club had agreed to support it because it was seen as a worthwhile recreational amenity for the district .
“We’ve developed a route that joins together various bits of track and offers another option for walkers and bikers.
“In many ways the new track will offer better views of the Ashburton River than the Lake Hood track and also views of paddocks, houses and the hills.”
Mr West said the track ran past Buckleys’s Terrace and finished where north and south branches of the Ashburton River came together.
ECan had planted around 6000 trees in the area in recent years.
The track was pretty rough at the moment, but once the grass had grown a bit more it would be rolled and would be in better shape, he said.
“We may look at more development further down the line, if people think it is a worthwhile project. That could include shingling the track, putting in seats and adding more plantings.”