Monday, July 15, 2024

Funding flows for popular Whakatāne walkway

Whakatāne District Council says it is delighted the district’s much-loved Ngā Tapuwae o Toi walkway will be restored to its former glory following a funding announcement from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Council will receive $451,000 to co-fund the repair work required to restore and enhance the walkway.

Following significant rainfall last October, a section of the trail has sat in ruins after a large slip caused extensive damage. The slip, which occurred between West End, Ōhope to Ōtarawairere Bay, was caused by an extended period of wet weather and sodden ground conditions. 

General Manager Community Experience, Georgina Fletcher says Council was eager to see the walkway re-opened in its entirety, initially allocating $200,000 of funding for its repair.

“Specialist engineers formulated a long-term engineering solution which aims to withstand further storm events,” she said.

“Unfortunately, the cost of the design far exceeded the allocated budget so some of our fantastic staff put together an application to Round 7 of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund for additional funding to help reduce the cost to our community.

“To say we are absolutely thrilled to be successful with the funding application is an understatement.”

The focus of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund is on rebuilding tourism infrastructure damaged by recent weather events. Council received letters of support from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, Tourism Bay of Plenty, Department of Conservation, The Kiwi Trust, Halo, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Whakatāne Athletic and Harrier Club and the Whakatāne Chamber of Commerce. 

Mrs Fletcher says the funding, which is conditional upon consent and community support, has given a lifeline to the iconic trail.

“The letters of support, together with the vast anecdotal commentary we’ve heard whilst out and about in our communities, and seen on our social media posts, clearly shows strong support from a wide cross section of our community. This highlights how important the walkway is to so many people.”

“We are on Cloud 9 and can’t wait to see our locals and manuhiri using the track once again and enjoying those breathtaking views,” she said.

Council says it will work alongside Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and hapū to finalise the design solution prior to commencement of the works. 

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