Forum a trailblazer for cycle tracks 21 November 2018 The future of walking, cycling and mountain biking on the Coromandel is looking bright following the inaugural ‘Coromandel Tracks and Trails Forum’ held yesterday. The forum, at the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre, brought together more than 60 people representing cycle trail groups in Mercury Bay, Colville, Coromandel Town, Thames, Hahei, Whangamata and Tairua-Pauanui, as well as those from neighbouring districts. Our Council created the forum to connect the various groups and to foster a united approach to supporting track and trail development across the district. Mayor Sandra Goudie opened the forum, saying she expected it to energise the cycle and trail-riding community. “Several years ago the Council created an arts strategy, which pulled together what was then a disparate arts community across the Coromandel. Now, our arts community communicates its market in a way that has not been done before,” Mayor Sandra said. She encouraged those at the forum to make the most of the opportunity of sharing the day with fellow enthusiasts and said she looked forward to the outcomes. Keynote speaker Pete Masters, operations manager for Bike Taupo, spoke to the forum about the journey of the 5000+ member group and the lessons learned in establishing the Great Lakes Trail – a 71km all-weather riding track through native forest with views across Lake Taupo to the Tongariro National Park. Waikato Regional Council’s senior policy analyst Rachel Cook introduced the regional cycling programme and Waikato Regional Cycle Trails network, while Karl Nesbit from the New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) talked to the group about working with NZRA when planning and operating tracks and trails. Destination Coromandel general manager Hadley Dryden talked about the success of two key walking and cycle trails in the Coromandel - the Hauraki Rail Trail and the Coromandel Coastal Walkway - and the opportunities from quality visitor experiences and tourist products. Ric Balfour from our Council’s parks and reserves team talked about existing and prospective trails around the Coromandel. Topics discussed during the day included trail guidelines, kauri dieback, health and safety, trail management and maintenance, and building an investment case for tracks, trails and bike parks. Our Council’s economic development and communications group manager Laurna White says the forum highlighted the rich opportunities cycle trails present to the Coromandel. “As more people of all ages discover the fun of getting around on a bike, more tracks and trails are being developed on the Coromandel and the time was right to bring the community together to discuss the exciting developments and of course share the challenges that come with growth," Laurna says. "We are delighted with the success of the forum, which has launched a new conversation about tracks and trails and the benefit to our economy. We’ll be continuing to engage with those at the forum and will share outcomes over the weeks ahead," she says. The forum was held with support from New Zealand Recreation Association. Presentation notes can be viewed on our website in the download box to the right. For more information, or to be alerted to future tracks and trails events, please contact our economic development programme manager: firstname.lastname@example.org More than 65 people attended the inaugural Coromandel Tracks and Trails Forum. Peter Masters (pictured above) shares the journey of Bike Taupo and lessons learned establishing the Great Lakes Trail.