Vowing to build the “most expensive cycle path in the world”, the Hastings Council is pushing ahead with a one kilometre stretch of cycleway between Black Barn and Waimarama Roads.
Work has been underway for what seems like years on the stretch, pictured below, known in HDC circles as the “Golden Kilometre”.
Craftsmen have scraped, leveled, packed and unpacked fill, hauled in tonnes of stone, replaced it all, built and unbuilt timber footings, installed drains and crossing ramps, tamped down and steamrolled, then smoothed with toothbrushes … with no end in sight.
Says Mayor Lawrence Yule: “I’ve heard that Andy Lowe’s predator-proof fence cost about $350 a metre. And that’s merely for cats and stoats. Here at the Hastings Council we’re about people … and we’re ready to spend $500 a metre, $1,000 a metre, whatever it takes to give them a ride out of town as smooth as a baby’s bum. And at that cost, I’m certain we’ll beat the current Guiness record, held by a cycleway studded with precious gems in Abu Dhabi.”
Council CEO Ross McLeod adds: “But this is not just about cyclists. A study done by local economist Sean Bevin estimates 75 man-years of employment and a lift of 1% in the region’s GDP from the project’s construction, with ongoing revenue from tourists who come to visit the Guinness record site. That’s more bang for the buck than either the dam or the museum.”
Councillor Cynthia Bowers, an avid cyclist, notes that the Golden Kilometre should last for at least the rest of the century, requiring no maintenance expense, because no one is expected to use the path. “We’ve carefully monitored the cycle path already in place directly on the opposite side of the road, and only six cyclists have used it since it was opened two years ago … three of those on a day when Te Mata Road was closed for re-surfacing. Like elsewhere around the Bay, most cyclists still prefer to use the roadway, where it’s safer dodging motorists than bollards. We’re anticipating a long shelf life for the Golden K, which we can always extend further by banning use.”
Councillor Wayne Bradshaw, a perennial critic of HDC extravagance, voiced a theory about the project. “I think Council needed a convenient way to dispose of the tonnes of stones that had to be hand-picked and removed from Anderson Park.” Retorted Yule: “I call that a win/win for Hastings ratepayers.”
The last word on the project goes to John Buck whose business, Te Mata Estate Winery, and home is passed by the Golden K … “I’m not sure what the damn thing’s for, but as long as no one uses it, it won’t be a nuisance. And at least Council engineers assure us that it’s earthquake safe.”
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