An artist’s impression of the Pahikara complex. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Greytown suffering from a shortage of accommodation

TOM TAYLOR
tom.taylor@age.co.nz

Bicycle shop proprietor Adam Blackwell has made public his vision for a new complex in Greytown.

The Pahikara [“bicycle” in Te Reo Maori] complex would include facilities for entertainment, dining, and accommodation.

The site identified for the project sits between Main St and West St, and includes land owned by Blackwell’s company Greytown Prosperity Ltd, a family from Pahiatua, and adjacent land owned by South Wairarapa District Council.

Blackwell said the idea for the project came when he heard about the government grant to connect the cycle trail network between Greytown and Featherston.

“I thought, wow, we’re going to have these wonderful trails and thousands of people are going to be coming into the region to cycle.”

But Blackwell said that Greytown suffered from a shortage of accommodation and dining options and needed new infrastructure to cope with a boost in tourism.

This shortcoming became apparent during Greytown’s midwinter Festival of Christmas in July this year.

“That put some strain on the system,” Blackwell said.

He saw an opportunity in the town’s need for facilities and came up with his proposal for a bicycle-themed resort.

Projected to create up to 40 full-time jobs, Pahikara is also focused on sustainability with desire to include solar panels in its design, roof water collection and recharging facilities for e-vehicles.

The resort would feature five-star accommodation, catering to luxury tourists coming to Wairarapa for the cycling experience.

It would include a farmers market area and a boutique cinema.

Blackwell said that this would broaden the range of accommodation that could be found in the district.

“It certainly addresses a weakness we’ve seen for decades,” Mayor Alex Beijen said.

However, Blackwell was aware that the 15-20 rooms planned within the Pahikara complex would not be sufficient in themselves to manage the projected influx of tourists.

“There’s a demand for cycling tourism all around the country, and it’s only going to get bigger.

“Once we open up the borders, we know we’re going to get flooded with international tourists.”

Blackwell said that luxury accommodation in Greytown would bring more high-value tourists to the region.

His plan would be in line with Tourism New Zealand’s focus on capturing greater value from “premium” tourists.

The Pahikara complex would also include a new front for bicycle shop Blackwell and Sons, where they would hire out bicycles to tourists.

The council land identified for the project is used by the Greytown Menz Shed.

Blackwell said that there was scope within the complex to include an area with knife-sharpening facilities where the group could continue to meet.

“As a concept, it’s fantastic,” Beijen said.

“It’s very good to see the business community willing to front foot investment into these tourism ventures.”

The mayor pointed to Otago and Nelson as prime examples of the value of cycling trails to regions.

He said Blackwell had started a conversation, but that the community would be involved in decisions with what to do with any council-owned land.

Blackwell has booked the Greytown Town Hall for a meeting about Pahikara on Wednesday, November 25, at 7pm. This meeting is not part of South Wairarapa District Council’s consultation process.



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