CEO Mike Wilding comments on walking trail

There are people in the community expressing different points-of-view about the new walking trail we at Craggy Range have established on the eastern side of Te Mata Peak, so we feel it’s important to share the facts about our trail and our vision for the future.

We purchased the parcel of private land opposite the Giants Winery on Waimarama Road earlier this year, for the sole purpose of building the path, which is intended for the community to use and enjoy.

The path’s construction has generated considerable support from within the community, as well as some discontent. Some people are concerned about the look of the just-finished path and others have questioned how permission was given for it to be built in the first place and why the consent process was non-notified.

We hear those concerns, and recognise the status of Te Mata Peak as one of Hawkes’ Bay’s most outstanding landmarks. Being born and bred in Hastings myself, I’m as passionate about the Peak as everyone else.

That’s why it was important that we did things right with developing the walking path. We asked Jeff Carter, a world class designer responsible for many of the paths and trails in Te Mata Park, to design a path that minimises the impact on the environment.

This was supported by a visual impact assessment study, completed as part of our resource consent, by Hudson Associates Landscape Architects.

Earthworks on the path are easily visible at the moment, but by autumn the grass will have regenerated and the path will blend into the landscape just like the nearby Lowe mountain bike trail as per the image below.

We also wanted to make sure we met the requirements of the recently adopted Hastings District Plan and the Resource Management Act, so we enlisted expert help to pull together our consent application. A detailed submission was made to Hastings District Council, we relied on their guidance on who to notify, and resource consent was granted. Craggy Range did not request a non-notified consent, it was Council’s decision not to notify the application.

Discussion has now turned to the District Plan and whether it strikes the right balance between protecting the landscape and the rights of landowners. This is an important discussion to have, because it seems the recently adopted District Plan is not necessarily reflecting community expectation as it did not require public notification in this situation. As a part of the community, we at Craggy Range are keen to be part of that conversation.

Our decision to purchase the land and build the walking path was made with the best of intentions and wasn’t taken lightly. It is not a commercial venture. It is a way for us to give those who enjoy the outdoors and Te Mata Park’s walking and cycling paths the opportunity to experience the eastern side of the peak. This track will blend into the environment as the grass grows and the project is completed, we ask you to please give it the fullness of time before judging it. The path will be open to the public early next year and will be for everyone to enjoy.

In the meantime, anyone who would like to learn more about the walking path is invited to contact me directly (michael.wilding@craggyrange.com). If people want to talk, we’re happy to create an opportunity to meet with us and the team of experts who have worked with us. I’m also really happy to pick up the phone to anyone who wants to call me to discuss. And of course, if you’re one of the many people who welcome the addition of this new eastern access to the Peak, do let us know.

Mike Wilding
CEO, Craggy Range