31 May 2010

National cycleway project on track, says PM

10:39 pm on 31 May 2010

Prime Minister John Key says the national cycleway project is on track and will eventually create thousands of jobs.

Mr Key unveiled the seven quick-start trails in July last year, totalling about 850km. The project received $9 million in funding, which increased to $18 million in February.

The Prime Minister released figures on Monday showing that 107km of track has been built so far, mostly on Department of Conservation land.

Mr Key says it has been easier to get the tracks on DoC land under way, but is confident that by the end of next year nearly 2000km of track will have been completed.

Mr Key says 70 jobs have been created so far, but there could be up to 500 construction jobs in building the tracks and many more in the long-term for tourism operators.

The original estimate was that the project could create 4000 jobs, and Mr Key thinks that is still achievable.

The first cycleway, in North Canterbury, is expected to open in June.

$4m 'not enough' for Southland cycleway

The project manager for a proposed cycleway in Southland says $4 million allocated by the Government is not enough.

Rex Capil, project manager of the Around the Mountain cycleway, says that amount will only fund four-tenths of the construction of the trail.

Mr Capil says he will have to look for other means of funding, including contributions from local councils.

He says it is strange that the Government is accepting proposals for more cycleways when the construction of all seven quick-start trails is not yet under way.