Second successful funding application for Great Walks Project 11 September 2015 A grant of $333,000 has been awarded to our Great Walks Project from Trust Waikato. "This is brilliant news and is another affirmation in support of the Walks project and the benefit it will bring to the Coromandel both socially, economically and culturally," says Thames-Coromandel Mayor Glenn Leach. "Trust Waikato is delighted to be able to contribute to this wonderful community asset," says Bev Gatenby, Chief Executive of Trust Waikato. In 2014 our Council committed $1.25M towards the Great Walks project. In 2015 DOC committed $450k to the project and we also successfully obtained $1M from the Lotteries Significant Project Fund. This latest grant takes the total to $3.03M and with budgeted operational costs also included, takes the funding streams to a total of $3.77M. The Coromandel Great Walks Project aims to link the whole district through a variety of walks around the coastline and across the spine of the Coromandel. One of the first offshoots being developed is the walk between Hot Water Beach, through to Whitianga. The first stage of the first route of the Great Walks is planned between the Stella Evered Reserve, opposite Cooks Beach through to Hahei. All stages of the route so far are located on public conservation land and/or private/public access - people can, and do, access these areas. Longer term this walk could spread further north of Whitianga and further south down to Tairua, Pauanui and beyond. "We won't be doing anything of significance until we have received and analysed a traffic impact report, which is due in September, and discussed those findings with stakeholders," says Garry Towler, Council's Project Executive for the Great Walks. What we have done is lodged building consents to Council for the major viewing platform structures, which is on the coast both north and south of Hahei village. The reason why we've done this now is for quality control to ensure the designs of the platforms are compliant and will allow us time for any changes to those designs. There was no intention of any construction starting on these platforms and tenders for suppliers have not even begun. To see the consent go to our online consent tracker here and search for plans submitted for Orchard RD and Grange Rd on 20-08-2015. What we are starting work on is four long-standing community projects, which ties in around our Great Walks project. "These four stand-alone projects are either ancillary or maintenance work on existing tracks or sites that relate to the Walks Project," says Mr Towler. "They have community, cultural, environmental and economic benefits for the local area and are situated along the future Coromandel Great Walks route. The four work projects are: Coastal planting, at the Te Pupuha Recreation Reserve, Hahei. This is an opportunity to work with all the landowners to plant native coastal vegetation. Any serious upgrade of the track to the Blowhole will not be done this year. Modifying an old planned route through the Cathedral Cove Recreation Reserve to McHanns Bay. This section is part of the old Andlinger Estate and was put into DOC management as part of an Overseas Investment Office deal with the planned track approved for development in 2007. As a long-standing commitment this planned route can now be realised as a direct link to the Walk. Improvements to the Stella Evered Memorial Park have already begun. This is a private reserve administered as a publicly accessible natural, cultural and historic reserve. We're currently working with the park Trustees and administrators on fencing, tree removal and landscaping. Improvements to the existing track leading up to the Te Pare Pa (the old Pa site) at Hahei. The work for these projects will come out of the Great Walks budget. "Once those 4 work packages are completed the Project Governance Board, which is made up of representatives from our Council, Department of Conservation and local iwi Ngati Hei, which reflects the three key partners, who then meet to discuss the next steps in the major construction and development of the route," says Mr Towler. "Again discussions on next steps will be determined following the findings and discussions of the traffic assessment report." The Hahei Stakeholders Working Group Chair or their delegate has an open invitation to always attend the Governance meetings to provide input and feedback. Addressing carparking issues. "One of the main concerns the Hahei Stakeholders Group has raised is how we will manage peak visitor numbers, particularly around car parking as there are already problems with numbers coming to Cathedral Cove," says Mr Towler. "That's why we have jointly commissioned this traffic assessment report, which is looking to mitigate Hahei and surrounding residents' concerns about peak summer traffic," he says. "Once we have fully understood the report and had feedback from our stakeholders we'll be in a better place to plan for longer-term car parking measures." In the short-term we're looking at the potential for constructing a car park at Pa Rd, Hahei, on a section of Council land beside the Wastewater Treatment Plant. This area has the capacity for more than 100 car parks and could be used for a park and ride so people can park and be shuttled up to Grange Rd, which is a main feeder into the already well-established Cathedral Cove Walk. We're also investigating management options with DOC and Ngati Hei for the Grange Rd carpark longer-term. Meanwhile there are also on-going negotiations with a private landowner around the possibility of a carpark at Lees Rd. We have engaged an independent planning consultant to look at preparation for resource consent if a carpark here goes ahead. Any decision or outcome on this carpark won't be made until the traffic assessment report is delivered and considered. Public meeting dates. In December 2014 we held a public meeting to share information on the Walks Project and another public meeting is planned for Saturday November 28 2015 at the Hahei Community Hall. Route Map.