2022 AGM Chair's Report
It has been a challenging and satisfying year for the Marlborough Kaikōura Trail Trust. It gives me great pleasure to present this Annual Report for the financial year ending 30th June 2022.
This year saw construction of the trail get properly underway and we made significant progress on Stage 1 of the project, which is Picton to Seddon. We completed most sections of the trail between Blenheim and Seddon. We also completed the clip-on walking and cycling bridge over the Wairau River which is a significant element of the Picton to Blenheim work programme. Continued below...
There has been a lot of work to get to this point. A considerable number of preparatory steps and permissions need to be put in place before construction can commence on a project such as this. It is important that whilst we progress we maintain good project control, private land holders are respected and there is the opportunity for meaningful input from our community. I would like to thank our community, suppliers, partners and funders, who have patiently supported our efforts. It has been exciting to see The Whale Trail taking shape and to receive the positive feedback from members of the community already enjoying using the trail.
Between September last year and March of this year we built trail through the industrial area of Riverlands to Redwood Pass Road. We also built trail from the south side of the Awatere River through to Seddon. We have two more elements to complete the Blenheim to Seddon section which is the cycling/walking bridge over the Awatere River and the section of trail from the northern side of the new cycling/walking bridge to the Dashwood corner.
On the 1st of June 2022 practical completion occurred for the clip-on bridge over the Wairau River. This 293-meter-long steel structure was the single largest item in the project budget we set in 2019. It is encouraging that despite several weather events, the team completed this milestone within the original project timeframes and budget. The Trust (principally our representative Ian Bond) worked closely with the lead contractor Fulton and Hogan and the project manager Waka Kotahi, and we would like to recognise their efforts in achieving this outcome.
After the sealed connections to SH1 were linked to the clip on the bridge was blessed on 23 August by iwi from Rangitāne, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Toa and Ngāti Rārua. The Wairau Toa is significant to all these local iwi, and we were honoured to enjoy this special moment with them.
The Whale Trail connections at either end of the new bridge are part of the work programme for the coming summer. As the bridge is designed with the dual purposes of being available for trail users and road cyclists its completion dramatically improves safety for existing cyclists who currently use this route.
Our aim is to use local businesses wherever we can to ensure the maximum benefit is captured for our regions. We are extremely pleased with the level of local involvement in the construction undertaken so far. I would like to acknowledge the key local contractors who have worked with us over these past 12 months. Fulton-Hogan Marlborough were the lead/principal contractor for the Wairau Clip-on with Hamilton Engineering undertaking the steel fabrication. Elite Excavations/Richardson Brothers and Simcox have been the primary civil contractors to date for the trail build work with aggregate sourced from Simcox and Edridges and limestone donated from Waipapa Limestone. The trail stood up extremely well to the recent extreme weather events and we thank all of our suppliers for their contribution to creating a quality regional asset.
We have an ambitious summer construction programme ahead of us as we target to complete Stage 1 of our project, Picton to Seddon. There are some significant cost pressures emerging and we are exploring options to address an anticipated funding shortfall.
Looking ahead to developing the trail south of Seddon, this year has also been significant as we have been able to work with Te Rūnunga O Kaikoura iwi to further explore what is possible for the next stage. Together we have identified an option at the southern end between Clarence and Kaikoura. While this inland section is beyond our initial project scope it could be an exciting addition to the trail and bring further opportunities for the Kaikōura District. Continued below...
We are committed to working closely with all our local iwi so they can share their history and stories along the trail, benefit from the possibilities the trail creates and together deliver something special for our regions. I would like to acknowledge Te Runanga a Rangitāne O Wairau, Te Rūnunga O Kaikoura, , Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Toa and Te Atiaiwa and thank them for their openness and energy to get involved in the development of the trail.
Our trustees and project team have formed constructive working relationship with several key parties which have been vital to delivering to date and in the future. These key partners include Iwi, Marlborough District and Kaikoura Councils, Rotary, Fish and Game, KiwiRail and Waka Kotahi/ NZ Transport Agency.
Our small but very dedicated project team is supported by specialist consultants. Vicki Nalder manages our construction programme. Anna Houkamau and Leanne Roberts were each engaged for part of the FY22 period focussing on collaborative partnerships and stakeholder communication. Hamish Seaton our trail engineer continues his great work with us. Katherine Hume-Pike has been our Trust Executive Officer since 2019. Having now moved to Wellington with her family Katherine will be passing over these responsibilities in December. I would like to thank Katherine for her tireless work over the past four years. I can unreservedly state that without her professional leadership and energy we would not have achieved any of the milestones we now celebrate. Most significantly the application to IRG securing $18.0m of government funding, the magnitude of easement agreements and the relationship with KiwiRail and Waka Kotahi . Thank you, Katherine.
I would also like to thank those who have provided the requisite financial support to enable the idea to become a reality. Rātā Foundation have been a long-time supporter of The Whale Trail. Our major grant is from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund and is managed by Kānoa, the Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit of Central Government. The Marlborough District Council is the significant co-funder. I would also like to thank our sponsor, WK Advisors, whom have provided all our financial accounting services and every month provided facilities to host our meetings.
Special recognition needs to be given to our “Trail Hosts” – the private landowners who provide permission for the trail to be on their property. Thank you for working with us to support the development of the trail for your community.
I am extremely fortunate to have a talented and committed team of trustees. Margaret Cooney, Louise Edwards, John Forrest, Sank McFarlane, Nigel Muir, Lynette Buurman and Cynthia Stoks have all contributed with professionalism, passion and commitment. Cynthia Stoks was an inaugural trustee and is stepping down form the trust at todays AGM. Thank you Cynthia for the dedication and creativity you have brought to the project over the last five years. As a Trust we now welcome Clint McConchie representing Ngai Tahu as a our new trustee.
Finally, beyond our trustees there are many members of the community who have offered assistance. Again I need to recognise the outstanding contribution made by Ian Bond. Thank you for generously providing your expertise. You are an integral part of our success.
We are conscious of the significant financial commitment the central government has made to the development of The Whale Trail and our role in helping to complete the geographic jigsaw puzzle of a true national network. As architects of a new second generation trail our trustees aim to build the very best asset we can for our local community and in particular our local Iwi. We are making steady progress in all regards. I am proud of what our team and partners have been able to achieve over the past year. You are all an integral part of our success
Ngā mihi nui,
Luke van Velthooven
Chair of Board of Trustees
Marlborough Kaikōura Trail Trust