6/06/2019 1:15:00 p.m.
6 June 2019
Work to upgrade the Tarawera Road forest hub is expected to get underway later this month. Higgins has been contracted to complete this work which is expected to be finished by March next year.
Earlier this week a karakia was held with Rotorua Lakes Council and partners at the forest hub site to mark the beginning of the next stage of the Whakarewarewa Forest development. The karakia was hosted by mana whenua and the formalities led by Tuhourangi Tribal Authority board member Rangitihi Pene.
The Whakarewarewa Forest development is a collaborative project between the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment, Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, Ngāti Whakaue, CNI Iwi Holdings, and Rotorua Lakes Council. Timberlands has also been very supportive in the development of the new forest hub site located on Tarawera Road, between the Ōkareka Loop Road and Lake Tikitapu.
Council is managing an investment of $14.5 million to enhance the forest amenity and improve the experience for all users. Council allocated $7.5 million to the project in its 2018 – 2028 Long-term Plan with $7 million to be contributed by Central Government from its Provincial Growth Fund. The new forest hub is one aspect of this project. The project also includes upgrading Long Mile Road and the Visitor Centre at the Redwoods. The project will be completed over the next three years.
Currently just a gravel parking lot, as part of the Whakarewarewa Forest development the hub site will be transformed into an entrance to the forest that is fit for purpose. This will involve the construction of a toilet and shower facility, the addition of a sealed carpark as well as overflow parking space, and the development of an event space and seating area.
Council economic development portfolio lead, Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson says the new forest hub will meet the needs of a growing number of users.
“This is a popular entry point to the forest. The Whakarewarewa Forest project has given us the opportunity to develop and upgrade the amenities in this area while also providing an additional event space.”
Throughout construction this entrance to the forest will remain open. People will need to use the walking and biking tracks to bypass the construction site to reach the bottom of Hill Road. The carpark will be closed to vehicles so people are advised to park their cars at Lake Tikitapu. There will be work taking place along Tarawera Road and at times traffic management will be in place.
We ask that people accessing the forest in this area are mindful of the construction site and abide by the signage that will be in place to keep themselves and the construction team safe.
To keep up to date with Whakarewarewa Forest project developments visit rotorualakescouncil.nz/forestdevelopment.
Additional information: Activity in the forest continues to grow
- The 2006 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships put Rotorua firmly on the global map of leading mountain bike destinations.
- The new forest hub being created on Tarawera Road is already well supported by the forest trail network and caters well to the growth in enduro-style riders, the fastest growing aspect of mountain biking.
- Iconic annual local events such as Xterra, The Tarawera Ultramarathon, and The Whaka 100 (already sold out for 2019) place pressure on current event spaces around the forest. The Forest Recreation Management Group is sanctioning an ever-increasing number of events in the Whakarewarewa Forest, approximately 70 permitted events/activities in 2016, 90 in 2017, 100 in 2018.
- Long Mile Road and the Redwoods are seeing an increasingly diverse number of events, and the Long Mile Road upgrade will encourage continued growth in attractions and visitors to this public space.
- Rotorua has now hosted round one of the Crankworx World Tour five times since 2015, and the Enduro World Series three times. These events showcase Rotorua as a mountain bike destination to a global audience.