Trail-blazing grant of a million dollars for Wakatipu walks

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Wakatipu Trails Trust’s 87km Queenstown Trail is right on track thanks to a $1 million grant from the Central Lakes Trust. 

The trust – originally formed from the proceeds of the sale of the former Otago Central Electric Power Board – says today’s grant is only the tenth it has approved of $1m or more. 

The trails trust, in partnership with Queenstown Lakes District Council, officially received a Government grant of $1.83m from the New Zealand Cycle Trust last month. 

However that still left the trust with about another $3m to find. 

“The Central Lakes Trust did not want the Government funding to be placed at risk,” CLT boss Paul Allison says. 

“Hopefully our grant will enable the Wakatipu Trails Trust to leverage further support to find the balance of the funds.” 

Allison stresses that trail trust patron, Sir Eion Edgar, who is chairman of the CLT, played no part in the decision-making process – Sir Eion and Jan Lady Edgar have already pledged $100,000 to the Queenstown Trail, and QLDC another $300,000. 

Trails Trust chief executive Kaye Parker is naturally delighted with CLT’s grant: “It’s an outstanding amount and we are indebted to the trustees for their faith in our ability to undertake the Queenstown Trail project which will have major economic and tourism benefits for our community.” 

Parker says her trust will now be able to tender trail development this summer with a completion date panned for September 2012.