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Trust Chairperson Report

Kate Wilson, OCRT Trust Chair shares the highlights of the past year... 

The year started out going underground and ended reaching for the stars, and fundraising for a station. Such are the variety of life being a Trustee and while I keep on thinking our busyness will get easier after the next project – the reality is that there is no shortage of opportunities.

Highlights have been:

Opening of the Daphne Hull Underpass – an appropriate acknowledgement to Daphne of all she has done on and off the trail. It was a great finale to a project that meant community, schools, the Trust and CODC worked collaboratively with NZTA and MBIE. Special mention should be made of the support we got from both Mayor Tony Lepper, Jon Kingsford, Manager at CODC and Jim Harland of NZTA.

Realignment of the Daisybank SH87 crossing has meant improved safety and better visibility for cars and cyclists. DOC support for the realignment has been appreciated along with funding from MBIE and NZTA undertaking the contract.

Completion of the website upgrade – a long drawn out process and much credit to Clare for her persistence and tolerance and to Tania for her input.

The Otago Central Rail Trail was named NZs Favourite Place to Cycle and in April this was celebrated with a community presentation. Well done to Clare and Sam for the work that they put in generating votes – it definitely made a difference.

Building a relationship with Ian Begg and being inspired with his astronomy idea. This has led to developing ongoing projects with communities, schools and the Otago Museum which is very exciting. With funding from Unlocking Curious Minds we have been able to explore the idea further launching the concept in Ranfurly and Naseby as part of Matariki in June.

Lottery Grants generously confirmed substantial funding for the Lauder Station restoration group to relocate the station and repair it. This is a great project but raised the concern that our project might be unsuccessful.

The year rounded up with us successfully fundraising to purchase the Hyde Railway Station. Lottery Commission did not disappoint, and great support from AAW Jones Trust, Combined Lions, Alexandra McMillan Trust, Community Trust of Otago, Strath Taieri Community Board, DCC Heritage Fund and DOC … This was a great joint effort with social media, media and the community supporting our efforts.

Highlights have meant substantial expenditure. While we have been very successful with fundraising, we have also contributed significantly on these projects both in financial and time terms.

Being the Original Great Ride and the Favourite Place to Cycle come with expectations to continue to improve and broaden the offerings. While the trail offers many opportunities we need to ensure that we continue to be profitable and able to sustain costs.

While we have grown our social media presence, assisted with increasing interest in the trail, it is becoming harder to continue to look at funding sources for core Trust operations. This at a time of increased workload for the tireless, generous volunteer Trustees and continued interest and enthusiasm of our Patron. It has been great to have their continued support and we have been very lucky to have Colleen join us for many meetings. We look forward to her ongoing contributions as an official Trustee.

The Trust should take considerable pleasure in its achievements in the past year. I would like to express my gratitude to you all. The playing field for us may well change in the next year and I hope that we can continue to accept opportunities as they arise and add value to others as resources allow. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Kate Wilson

OCRT Chairperson (2015/2016)