Hutt River Trail – 25 years on
In 1991, President Elect Ron Wilson discussed with Ross Jackson of Wellington Regional Council, various ideas for a major project to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Hutt, the first valley club (now called Rotary Hutt City). The outcome was an idea for a trail along the length of the Hutt River.
A project of this scale over-reached the boundaries of just one Rotary Club, so all eight Rotary Clubs in the Upper and Lower Hutt Valley got on board to mark 50 years of Rotary in the valley.
All clubs were enthusiastic and each one contributed many hours over the years to ensure the success of this initiative. It was the first co-operative project between all clubs.
The concept was to convert the berms of the Hutt River from an overgrown wilderness into a linear park with a recreational trail along both banks – a distance of almost 60km. This needed the goodwill of the Regional Council, Upper Hutt City and Lower Hutt City all of whom adopted this project with enthusiasm.
With the final gaps on the western bank scheduled for completion over the next three or four years, the Hutt River Trail is almost complete – 25 years on from its inception.
Ahead there are still the challenges of providing two additional cross-river links, plus enhancing the berms and resisting berm encroachment for civic infrastructure. Also, we have the challenge of planting the berms with native and specimen trees to attract birds and create a park-like atmosphere.
The quarterly management meetings of the steering committee are chaired by Greater Wellington Regional Council, and has representatives from GW Flood Protection, GW Parks, UHCC, HCC, plus two from Rotary.
The Hutt River Trail is the integral link for the National Cycle Trail from Petone foreshore, up the Hutt Valley, over the Rimutaka Rail Trail, down the Wairarapa Western Lakes Road, and around the Wainui coast.
The final two links – Wellington to Petone, and Wainui coast to Eastbourne/Lower Hutt are still in the planning stage.
Traffic count estimate for the Hutt River Trail is more than 1 million per year, and that number is increasing.
Rotary Hutt City considers this a successful project, one that leaves a better environment for future generations.