Excitement as significant projects open in the Clutha District
Two significant community-led projects are about to open in the Clutha District - Te Pou Ō Mata-Au | Clutha District War Memorial & Community Centre and the Lawrence to Waihola extension of the Clutha Gold Cycling and Walking Trail - with opening events on 25 August.
Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan said collaboration has been key to both projects which are expected to have financial and social benefits for the Clutha District.
“These facilities symbolise tenacity and the belief in an exciting future for the Clutha District, and we owe the community champions that have driven these projects a huge debt of gratitude. Their gift of both time and skills, along with the unflinching support of external funders has enabled both projects to come to fruition and this is a very special day for all the Clutha District.”
The Government has contributed $18.25 million to both projects, including $16.4M coming from Kānoa, the Government’s Regional Development and Investment Unit within MBIE.
“These truly are joint ventures, driven by the community and supported by funding from central and local government,” says Kānoa General Manager Paul Swallow.
“These projects are two of the 129 across the region that Kānoa has invested in since 2018, because we know the importance of Otago’s continuing economic and community development,” Paul says.
The $23 million Te Pou Ō Mata-Au | Clutha District War Memorial & Community Centre provides a central location for a district-wide war memorial and its atrium will showcase local mana whenua history and community stories of people and places.
The state-of-the-art community, business and visitor complex houses a 468+ person auditorium, movie theatre, the Clutha isite and Clutha Development, social/health agencies, as well as multiple meeting rooms, community spaces, co-working desks, event and leased tenancy spaces. It will continue to be owned, governed and managed by the Clutha Community Hub Charitable Trust.
Clutha Community Hub Charitable Trust chairman Dale Anderson said, “It is fantastic to be at this point in the project - while we have an amazing facility, more exciting is the potential benefits to the local district with it as a platform. It has already had a positive impact within the district during development, we can’t wait to see what the community delivers with it being publicly available.”
The project received nearly $10M from Kānoa, $10M from Clutha District Council and $2.2M from the Otago Community Trust, and financial support from other philanthropic funding sources and community fundraising.
Further north, officially opening on the same day, the extended Clutha Gold Cycling and Walking Trail is expected to live up to its name - It’s estimated the 63km walking and cycling trail extension, from Lawrence to Waihola, will draw 15,000 cyclists a year.
Clutha Gold Trail Charitable Trust Chair Murray Paterson said, “The support for this trail has been amazing and will be another incredible drawcard for the Clutha District which both locals and visitors can enjoy.”
The extension almost doubles the length of the Clutha Gold Trail, bringing it to a 135km journey. As the trail moves through the Clutha District, it also crosses through farmland, a viaduct and old railway tunnels.
One of the final stages to be completed, a 15km boardwalk through the wetlands on the edge of Lake Waihola, is already proving its pulling power with high numbers of people making the most of it ahead of the opening.
This project received $6.5M from the Provincial Growth Fund, $1.85M from the Government's Cycle Trail Enhancement and Extension Fund, $1M from Clutha District Council and $500,000 from the Otago Community Trust.
The trail would not have been possible without generous landowners allowing it to be constructed through their land and agreeing to public access.
The public will be able to walk through Te Pou Ō Mata-Au | Clutha District War Memorial & Community Centre from 3.30pm-6pm on 25 August. The facility is opening in stages, the first being the cinema with the rest expected to follow in September.
The Lawrence to Waihola extension of the Clutha Gold Cycling and Walking Trail is now open to the public, although there are still a few minor things to be completed.