Saturday, 04 April 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Purangi to Cathedral Cove walkway a step closer

Construction of a Purangi to Cathedral Cove walkway is a step closer after the Mercury Bay Community Board endorsed the proposed route from Stella Evered Memorial Park to the Cathedral Cove Gateway carpark on Lees Road.

At their latest meeting the week before last, the Community Board members unanimously recommended that Thames-Coromandel District Council proceed with the project at a maximum cost of $450,000 with lottery funding already in place.

In his report presented to the meeting, Allan Tiplady, TCDC district manager north, said consultation had taken place with the residents of Lees Road who asked for further information on the safety of the walkway, particularly where it crossed the road. A safety audit of the crossing was presented and a slightly different crossing point was agreed to.

Mr Tiplady said, while some residents remained concerned about potential safety issues for walkers crossing the Purangi Estuary, this was not part of the walkway as it is currently proposed, although an estuary crossing remained a long-term goal.

“The walkway has the approval of local iwi, Ngati Hei, and will include four features of cultural significance at key points on the walk,” Mr Tiplady’s report said.

Councillor Tony Fox said the Community Board needed to ensure construction of the walkway wasn’t delayed. “This project has funding, if we don’t act now we may lose it and then we’ll have to go back to council looking for money and we all know how hard that is. We do not want to miss this opportunity,” he said.

The Community Board were warned last July that the remaining money from a $1 million Lotteries Significant Grant Fund would expire in September this year if not used.

It’s envisaged that, when fully complete, a walk known as Te Ara O Hei - The Path of Hei - will go from Hot Water Beach to Cathedral Cove, on to the Purangi Estuary and through to Whitianga. Extending the walk further north to Kuaotunu and south into Tairua, Pauanui and Whangamata is also being investigated.

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.