Accessible trails aim of Tracks Trust

SHARE

Ten years after it was first formed, the Upper Clutha Tracks Trust (UCTT) is working to make its network of eight trails more user-friendly by enhancing access for cyclists, people using wheelchairs or mobility scooters and parents with prams and strollers.

Trust treasurer and a founding trustee John Wellington told The News the organisation was looking at all “track furniture”, especially at entrances and exits.

“Originally we were concerned about motorbikes accessing the tracks and installed barriers including cattle grids and stiles etc.

“Although we still don’t want motorbikes on the tracks, the concern has become less of an issue as with the level of people now using the trails any potential problem has become self-policing.”

It was hard to know the level of use by people with transport such as wheelchairs, electric bikes or child carriers.

“However, what we do know is that in the United Kingdom, for example, use of trails by people with mobility scooters is quite high. New Zealand is a bit behind the eight ball on that one but it is coming,” Mr Wellington said.

Use of tracks by electric bikes was also on the increase.

The group behind the “Bike’vember” campaign to encourage people to use bikes was supporting calls for ramp access to the Hawea swing bridge at the Albert Town Recreation Reserve and had launched a givealittle page to help raise funds for the ramp estimated to cost $40,000.

At present users had to climb two sets of steps to get on to the 70m-long structure.

Fellow trustee, paraplegic Geoff Wilson, an advocate for disabled track access, said he “certainly” welcomed the proposal.

Constructed in 2009, the 10km Hawea River track was the first trail established by the trust.