Wellington Scoop

“Absolutely brilliant” that harbour-edge cycleway and walkway will be funded

Mary Varnham, who originated the concept of the Great Harbour Way in 2003, says the news that funding has been approved for the Petone-Ngauranga gap to be fixed is ‘absolutely brilliant. All great Wellington projects take at least 10 years to get from whoa and go and we’ve made it in nine.’

The Great Harbour Way Te Aranui o Poneke will be a continuous, safe walkway and cycleway around the whole 72 kilometres of Wellington Harbour. After Varnham and several other women scoped the project back in 2003, a steering committee was set up to propel the idea forward.

Over the years many other groups joined, including Hutt Rotary, who had developed the Hutt River Trail and were keen to take on board another cycling project. Three years ago a study by Boffa Miskell laid out a blueprint for work that needed to be done to improve the route, and since then the steering committeee has been lobbying a wide range of involved parties, from Wellington and Hutt City Councils and Greater Welllington to NZTA and NZ Rail.

“One major hurdle has been the ‘Gap”, the lack of a safe walking and cycling track between Petone and Wellington,” Mary Varnham says.”It was always obvious this would have to be built on the seaward side, well away from traffic fumes, and obviously this will be costly. But if you compare it with the billions being spent on roading it’s a small price to pay for a world-beating trail.”

The Great Harbour Way group, which became a Trust last year, is advocating that the work be completed in three years.

“Meanwhile, we urge all Wellingtonians to walk and cycle around the many parts of the harbour edge that are already accessible. This is truly one of the world’s greatest trails.”