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.”

Tom Belford

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5 Comments

  1. I appreciate this is somewhat “tongue in cheek” but…. As a recent returnee to cycling and frequent user of the myriad of cycleways (and markings on general roads) in the region I am grateful for these amenities and I am sure that our region’s visitors also agree. And hats off to the motoring public also. I have noticed a substantial general improvement in tolerance on the road towards cyclists. Thank you for that.

  2. It certainly looks gold plated (I’m sure “environmentally friendly” and cheaper compressed lime would have done the job adequately) – but then again, how much money is spent on roads and footpaths usually – while cyclists are expected to ride in the gutter amongst broken glass and potholes.

    The Bay is getting a good reputation here in Manawatu as a place where people can go to bike around for a holiday.

  3. Well done HDC but with all of that effort into a temporary surface!!?? why on earth did you not install concrete?? this Lime sand will be out on the road surface in no time, so you had better leave the boxing in place and back fill soil up to it.
    Also HDC!! I rode my mobility scooter around the streets of Flaxmere, now their footpath’s would challenge the dangerous roads of the World, there would not be a 10m strip where your false teeth were not in danger of exiting your mouth they are a disgrace!!
    Silly me I thought they were to be addressed under this National Govt in conjunction with the HDC.
    Mr Yule grab yourself a Scooter and take yourself a ride!!

  4. What qualifications do you need to use the toothbrush. Are you sure HDC is creating meaningful work? I like the win/win comment by Lawrence Yule. One does have to recognize his prowess for recycling. Excuse the pun.
    What happens after a windy day. Are they going to have dedicated teams of toothbrush pushers to make sure its kept smooth and danger free?
    I suggest the bollards be recycled as punching bags on the condition the users must don armour plated boxing gloves and keep their helmets on.
    At least it is providing employment by helping those who need it for buying the necessities of life without having to leave the Hastings District.
    I think this is the most amusing Blog I have read in a long time.

  5. I drive through the golden mile regularly on my way out to the beach and it has been amusing to see the track built, washed away and re-built, this time to a very high standard! It is also noted that the extended track which fronts Craggy Range turns from limestone to paving stones – so no expense spared to front our ‘flagstone’ winery. I only hope Mr Peabody fronted up with some of the funding for the ‘upgrade’.
    I now understand why the HDC are forcing us to drive at 80km/hr on those golden straights – so we spend more time appreciating our empty golden pathways. Let’s hope they leave the killer obstacles – I mean, bollards, down Havelock Road.

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