Work has begun on a project to nearly double the length of a popular Central Hawke’s Bay walk and cycle way.
A blessing to mark the start of the Tukituki Trail extension was held this morning in Waipukurau. The existing trail runs by the Tukituki River between Waipukurau and Waipawa.
Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash says the project highlights the importance of regional jobs to help accelerate the economic recovery.
The Provincial Development Unit (PDU) is funding the project to the tune of $750,000, as part of the $100 million Worker Redeployment Package announced in response to the Covid-19 epidemic.
“The walkway and cycleway extension will create another 12 kilometres of paths on the other side of the river, connected by a new bridge, along with 10 kilometres of mountain bike trails in a nearby reserve,” Mr Nash said.
“Extending the Tukituki Trail and bridging the river will make an already attractive route even better, providing recreation opportunities for locals, families and visitors.
“Central Hawke’s Bay already has much to offer tourists and the new, longer Tukituki Trail will add another drawcard, eventually forming an important part of the Route 52 Heartland ride linking Hawke’s Bay with Wairarapa.”
Stuart Nash says the extended Tukituki Trail will boost local business.
“Research shows more domestic visitors to Hawke’s Bay use the region’s cycle trails than international tourists, contributing more than $10 million to the local economy. That’s an important advantage for Hawke’s Bay when international visitor numbers are severely restricted by the Covid-19 crisis.
“It is not only tourism which will be the winner from construction of the extended trail. Local workers and their families will also benefit. The PDU funding is provided on the basis the project will provide jobs for locals, particularly Māori and Pasifika workers.
“Over the next six months, the project will provide 12 jobs for redeployed workers. As a minimum, they will all be paid the living wage, as well as having individualised pastoral care to help them achieve sustainable employment.
“This is a great project which will provide locals with real, tangible benefits in jobs, business opportunities and a lasting community asset,” Stuart Nash says.