Kawatiri Coastal Trail work begins

Construction work is set to begin on the Kawatiri Coastal Trail with the appointment of local contractor, Westreef Services Ltd now confirmed, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today.

“It’s great to see the design and development phase has progressed to this point from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment of $9.36 million previously announced,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

“This is an incredibly important announcement for the Westcoast at this time as we find ways to support our regions post Covid-19.

“The project will employ over 30 local people in construction, project management, design, engineering, ecology and archaeology which is providing economic stimulus post Covid-19 to this region.

“Around 18 construction workers will begin work on a 5.5 km section of the Kawatiri Coastal Trail from Westport to Carters Beach which they expect to have open before Christmas.

“The idea for the Kawatiri Coastal Trail began back in 2015 when a group of visionary Charleston residents started to scratch out a new tourist attraction by building a shingle track between Rotten Row and Nile Bridge in the South Island’s Buller District.

“The creation of the family-friendly heritage cycle and walk trail is in full development and makes the most of the West Coast’s unique surroundings. The trail winds its way through gold rush heritage sites, areas of high significance to Ngāti Waewae to highlight the region’s rich history.

“The trail will play an important role in attracting visitors and achieving the Trust’s goal of making the Kawatiri Coastal Trail the jewel in the crown of West Coast’s new tourism attractions.

“The trail is built to New Zealand Cycle Trail Grade 2 safety standards so a broad range of users will be able to access the trail with multiple entrance and exit points along the way so communities along it can provide hospitality and tourist offerings.

“Visitors will be able to enjoy the wild coastal views combined with unique geology and landforms such as the Cape Foulwind headland while observing the exceptional ecological diversity. The trail will provide visitor access to a huge variety of flora and fauna including the Kahikatea forest, pristine wetlands and wildlife such as Kiwi, weka, fernbirds living in their natural habitat.

“The entire 55km trail which will extend from Westport to Charleston, is expected to be open for local, domestic and international users by 2022.

“The Charleston-Westport Coast Trail Trust were funded for the trail project as part of a PGF tourism boost of $87.46 million for the West Coast,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.