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Access for mountain bikers, runners and walkers to the popular tracks in the Codgers and Fringed Hill area behind Nelson has been secured thanks to a grant from Nelson City Council to landowners Koata Ltd that will assist with managing public recreation activities on the land.
Separately, the Nelson Mountain Bike Club (NMTBC) are proposing that they manage access into the Sharlands area (also owned by Koata Ltd) for NMTBC members.
The high level of recreational use on this private land has created a considerable management burden for Koata Ltd, who submitted to the Annual Plan 2019/20 for assistance in developing a recreation management plan.
At the 17 September 2020 Sport and Recreation Committee meeting, Council officers were asked to report back with both short and long term solutions.
Developing a long term outcome is a complicated process that will take some time. In the meantime, Council has agreed to make a grant of $80,000 to Koata Ltd for continued public access to the land, and as a contribution towards the staffing costs associated with managing the area.
Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese says the grant is in line with Council’s mandate to support public recreation in the region.
“The arrangement today ensures Nelsonians and visitors have access to some of the most popular recreation tracks in our Smart Little City. This not only benefits those who use the area for recreation, but also the many businesses that depend on these activities for their livelihoods.
“I’d like to acknowledge Koata Ltd and the Nelson Mountain Bike Club for their great support and partnership as we worked together so that access to this highly valued and popular area for mountain bikers, walkers and recreation can continue.”
Koata Limited Chief Executive Hemi Toia says:
“Ngāti Koata are very pleased with this outcome which recognises and acknowledges the private ownership of this whenua (land) and enables continued access and enjoyment of this land for recreational purposes by residents of Nelson and visitors to the region.
“Koata Limited looks forward to building on its excellent relationship with Nelson City Council as we develop a long term solution for access to Ngāti Koata land for recreational purposes for the community. We also anticipate a favourable outcome in our discussions with Nelson Mountain Bike Club for access to the Sharlands land area.”
Mountain biking brings significant economic benefits to the Nelson Tasman region. The sport is estimated to bring around $14.5 million in spending, $7.5 million in GDP and 106 full time equivalent jobs each year. Council is keen to ensure that there is continued access to the great tracks on both Council and private land over the short and long term to support this.
NMTBC Chair, Melanie Schroder congratulated Nelson City Council for taking this initiative to secure mountain biking and other recreation access in this very popular area.
“The generosity of Ngāti Koata must also be acknowledged for allowing mountain bikers, walkers and other recreation users onto their land. The Nelson Mountain Bike Club looks forward to working with both Nelson City Council and Ngāti Koata to make mountain biking in Nelson even more exceptional.”
Data extrapolated from the Strava App, that allows users to track their rides, shows around 25,000 cyclists use the Turners track at Codgers annually and more than 60,000 cyclists passed the Coppermine Trail counter in Codgers in one direction in the past year.
In addition to mountain biking, the Codgers Trails network offers a range of walking and running opportunities close to the city, which are very popular with locals and visitors alike.
A particularly popular pedestrian loop is to walk up the Maitai Valley Esplanade trail, climb Sharland Hill to experience the incredible views over Nelson and Tasman Bay and then return to the City via the Brook (or vice versa).
This route traverses considerable Koata Ltd land and the access agreement now enables the Council to provide better wayfinding and promotion of this and similar routes