Cycle trail benefits communities

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AROUND the Mountains Cycle Trail (ATMCT) has been a ‘‘booming success’’ and proving to be as popular with pedestrians as it is with cyclists, ATMCT trust chair Nicola Wills told Southland District councillors last week.

The year-on-year growth was a fantastic news story, she said.

Up to 70% of the people who had visited the region, had come because of the cycle trail.

‘‘The economic benefit for that is huge for our communities that are surrounding the trail…’’

The trail had experienced a 20% growth from the 2021-22 season which was mainly achieved from the domestic market and had joined the halls of the nation’s 23 great cycle trail rides.

Five counters on the trails recorded cyclists as well as pedestrians. The Kingston portion of the trail had been particularly popular with pedestrians and is well used by Kingston residents. Race the Train, held in January, also had an impact on the pedestrian count.

‘‘There’s some great numbers and great growth going through that trail.’’

Southland District Mayor Gary Tong said he appreciated it had taken a huge effort to get it up and running but saw the reward of the work.

‘‘It’s been a topic of conversation with this council well before 2013.’’

Cr Ebel Kremer said it was an ‘‘absolute fantastic result’’ as the trail had now come into its own.

‘‘It’s certainly a great economic benefit for the district itself.’’

The trail, which circumnavigates the Eyre Mountains, starts at Kingston, follows State Highway 6 south to Lumsden then turns west to Mossburn before heading north again through the Mavora Lakes region, finishing at Mt Nicholas on the south shores of Lake Wakatipu.

The 186km of custom-made paths have been graded 2-3 easy-intermediate and can be ridden in either direction in three to five days.

There were also sections of the trail which could be done independently, Ms Wills said.

The ATMCT trust was initially established by the Southland District Council in August and has now received its official certificate of incorporation and is officially a charitable trust.

Ms Wills said completing all the paperwork to establish the trust was the dreary side of the set-up process but it was important to do it properly.

An official partner and community meeting had been delayed because of Covid-19 but it was hoped it would happen in May.

‘‘We have service levels that we need to maintain with our official partners through the official partner programme in terms of social media and things we need to do.’’

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