Long Way To Go

Organisers behind the plan to create a cycle trail between Mosgiel and Dunedin say it is going to take longer than hoped.

The Taieri Times earlier this year reported the Dunedin Tunnels Trail Trust hoped to begin work on the trail from Caversham to Wingatui within months.

But last week, trust spokesman Gerard Hyland said securing access to private properties for parts of the trail could take some time yet.

Mr Hyland said the trust knew there could be obstacles with the project, which had already taken nearly eight years.

He did not want to go into the specifics of problems with access to land. The trail would go from the city through the disused Caversham tunnel, follow the railway line through Abbotsford and the disused Chain Hills tunnel and into Wingatui.

Mr Hyland said the trail would still be built and there was much work to do while land access issues were resolved, including clearing drains above either end of the Chain Hills tunnel.

Talks with Kiwirail over access to the Abbotsford rail corridor were ongoing. Mr Hyland said the project began in 2006 and the trust had needed to jump through many hoops, including having to commission feasibility studies, technical surveys, reports and assessments on using the tunnel in a cycle trail route.

The property owner at the east end of the Chain Hills tunnel said she was happy for a trail easement through her property.

The property owner at the west end of the tunnel, Mark North, said he was open to considering the idea. He did not want to comment publicly other than to say the trail was ''not completely off the table''. One of the issues was how close the trail would run to their home.

Dunedin City Council has made about $70,000 available to the trust for items like surveys and other technical costs.

Cr Kate Wilson, the councillor on a project control group overseeing the trail's development, said she was in contact with the Norths. Cr Wilson planned to update the council before its long-term plan discussions next year.

From Otago Daily Times, Debbie Porteous