Submisson 2011.1

Dunedin Tunnels Trail Trust submission on Dunedin City Council draft 2010-2011 Annual Plan

Dunedin Tunnels Trail Trust

 Dunedin Tunnels Trail Trust (DTTT) is a charitable trust established in 2009 with the aim of promoting and developing a safe, family-friendly cycle and walking trail from the centre of Dunedin through to the Taieri Plains via the two old rail tunnels at Caversham and Chain Hills.

 As a commuting option the trail would:

·          eliminate the Lookout Point and Saddle Hill climb barriers;

·          enable the cyclists to be able to move away from major traffic flows;

·          create a family-friendly and safe Southern Cycleway i.e. a commuter, recreational, and tourist corridor between Mosgiel, Green Island, and Dunedin;

·          be a key part of Dunedin’s long-term urban transport plan

·          provide an instant, local, accessible tourist attraction of Dunedin's heritage;

·          be an investment in a sustainable future for Dunedin and support the general increase of awareness and participation in outdoor activities and transportation options. 

This is not only a part of Dunedin's history that needs to be preserved and used, but an incredible resource that should be utilised to the full for recreation as well as commuting.

 1          Transport Network: Southern Cycleway in the DCC Draft Annual Plan

 1) Add Southern Cycleway / Tunnels Trail development item

 We request that in addition to the $30,000 for investigation, a sum of $300,000 for development of this initiative be added to the Transport Plan as a separate item.  The full cycleway through the tunnels and following the rail route has a large commuting and tourism potential for both cycling and walking.


Funding to proceed with the development of the trail and to overcome any issues identified by the studies undertaken by the DCC Working Party need to be included in the 2011-2012  budget under discussion here. We request that a section of funds be earmarked for the 11/12 financial year as well as the following years to enable the track to be developed in a staged fashion.

We do not expect the council to solely fund the investigation and development of this community amenity.  The Trust is working in partnership with a number of groups to assist in this regard. 

As an example of this, students from the University of Otago have collected survey measurements of the area surrounding the Kaikorai Valley end of the Caversham tunnel.  This information has been passed on to the Christchurch-based traffic and engineering company ViaStrada, who will then produce the design for a ramp from the tunnel mouth to the roadway for the Trust.  This will be done at no cost to the Council.

2) A partnership be established between DCC and DTTT for the ongoing development of this Trail

The Dunedin Tunnels Trail Trust has been established as a charitable trust specifically for this purpose: working with the DCC in fundraising,  promoting, and maintaining the trail and associated facilities.  As mentioned above, we acknowledge that not all funds for this trail may be able to be immediately sourced from within the DCC budget and offer this alternative model as a method to proceed with development.

Representatives from the Trust are currently on the DCC Working Party investigating the options of the tunnels and trail between them. We would like to thank the DCC for this opportunity and look forward to continue to work with the Council for investigation and development of the trail.

2          Safety Factors of the Caversham and Chain Hills tunnels

Rail traffic was switched away from the 2 tunnels in 1910.  Since then, people have been using them for access without incident for almost 100 years until they were gated shut by Water & Waste Services.  Ownership of the Caversham tunnel was transferred from the Railways to ‘The Mayor, councillors, and citizens of Dunedin’ by Act of Parliament in 1961.

In 2006 the Caversham Tunnel was gated shut citing noxious gases from the mud and wet clay, and later the potential danger from the utility services inside the tunnel.  We would question the ‘right’ of one department to control this tunnel and then deny access to an amenity owned by the citizens as a whole.  If that department put in, or authorized the installation of utility lines, then they should also be responsible for ensuring the safety of those who continue to use it. Shutting off access citing dangers that they themselves are therefore implicit in creating is denying the full use of these amenities by those who own them.

There has been much made of the potential risk of someone cycling through this tunnel.  Sadly, cyclists have been killed on Dunedin roads, and the risks are increasing.  They have not been killed when using the tunnel. Can the Council explain why it is unwilling to re-open the tunnel in its current condition and allow people to choose their own level of risk.

Thank you for your consideration of our submission.  We look forward to working collaboratively with Council to help ensure that Dunedin is cycling friendly and uses the assets of the city for the benefit of all.

Regards

Dunedin Tunnels Trail Trust

12/04/2011 from Annual Plan Submission, Dunedin Tunnels Trail Trust