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Walkers sent packing and left out of the loop

Works will block a popular Lansdowne walking circuit until June, forcing walkers to add almost two kilometres to their route.

Masterton District Council [MDC] is paving the limestone path which connects Kitchener St to Gordon St, turning it into a sealed road.

The thoroughfare will be closed to the public until the work is complete.

Pedestrians walking in the loop from Nikau Heights, through the Lansdowne trails, onto Kitchener St and back to Gordon St now need to walk all the way down to Roberts Rd via French St, a 1.8km detour, which might be too far for many walkers.

Contractor Westwood Civil began work on November 21 2022, closing the path to the public, but resident and runner Jim Barr said that work had hardly begun after seven weeks.

“They fenced it off seven weeks ago, and nothing has changed.

“The council lets these contractors get away with murder,” Barr said.

Barr said that he runs there, and his wife and her friends regularly walk the circuit, and the extra distance, almost two km, is a significant deterrent to walking there.

Another Lansdowne runner and cyclist said he had not seen much progress on the site since the path was closed off in November.

“To me, it just looks like a whole lot of nothing which will drag on for months and months; all these projects seem to take so long.

“That lime path made a nice loop track up to the golf course, and I can see how it is an inconvenience to people who walk it all the time,” he said.

Barr thought the work could proceed without completely closing the path for six months.

“The council, rather than requiring that the footpath be closed, should have required the developers to provide an alternative path for the duration of the work.

“They could have easily done so to the north side of the path since the developers own that land,” Barr said.

MDC manager of assets and operations Mike Burger disagreed that the land north of the path could be used for an alternative route and said the council decided to close it as a safety precaution for pedestrians.

“Given the nature of the work, there is no viable alternative walking route that could stay open alongside the current lime path.

“While MDC recognises this is a temporary inconvenience for users of the lime path, it does ensure Westwood Civil can meet site safety requirements as they undertake work required for the Kitchener St upgrade project,” Burger said.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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