Cycle groups push for track support

The river trails are well used by cyclists and other groups.

Community volunteer groups that put in hours of upkeep work on biking and leisure tracks in Ashburton are keen for Ashburton District Council to get on board with a financial commitment and future support for maintenance and enhancement work.

Mountain Bike Ashburton, Run Walk Ashburton, Methven Adult Riders Group and Rotary Ashburton are among groups that have submitted on the Long Term Plan 2021-31 and that want a firmer partnership with council.

Those groups and others, including a moto group and 4WD club, are part of the Ashburton Hakatere River Trail committee, and say recreation is important and also aligned with values in the council’s own long term plan.

Mountain Bike Ashburton president James Reid said he would speak on behalf of the bike club and other trail committee members at next month’s submission hearings.

He said volunteers were keen to see council allocate money in its budget for trail maintenance, as it had in the past, and to “come on board” more.

The riverside tracks were a valuable community asset, part of the district’s great open spaces and promoted a healthy lifestyle, he said.

Groups involved in maintaining them had a strong environmental focus and planted natives for future generations to enjoy, he said.

“The tracks we have developed bring people to town, which has an economic benefit.

“Cycling in particular is enjoying a big increase in popularity and we have a lot of untapped potential in this district.”

Mr Reid said Ashburton Hakatere River Trail committee members had been invited to speak with council’s open spaces team at the end of this month, which was a positive step forward.

Roger West from Ashburton Rotary, which established and maintains the Lake Hood track, said the club had enjoyed co-operation from council and Environment Canterbury over the years and he looked forward to that support continuing.

Funding support was always necessary for maintenance and track enhancements, he said.

Horse trekking group Methven Adult Riders Group echoed the same sentiments saying dedicated funding for the tracks would mean they could be better maintained.

Spokesman Colin Crossen said the tracks were inclined to get overgrown and would deteriorate over time without regular work on them.

Submission hearings are set for May 11 and 12.

-By Mick Jensen