Council considers rerouting Southland cycle trail

Southland District Council is considering shifting the route of a controversial cycle trail away from a trout fishing area to bring an end to a court case.

The council has been battling Fish and Game in the Environment Court over the route of the unfinished Around the Mountains Cycle Trail in upper Southland.

The fishing lobby group objects to a proposed section of the trail that would cross through a brown trout area on the Upper Oreti river.

So far, the council has spent more than $9 million on the trail and has been under pressure from ratepayers not to spend more money on the over-budget project.

However, a funding agreement with the government requires the trail to be finished.

The district’s mayor, Gary Tong, said he would meet with Fish and Game this week to discuss whether to continue with the court case or consider rerouting the trail to the Mararoa Valley.