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Pike memorial track plans finalised

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/05/2016
Workers stroll by a bouquet of flowers for victims of mine explosion lie on the road near the Pike River mine at Greymouth, New Zealand, Tuesday, June 28, 2011. © Iain McGregor/ AP Photo Workers stroll by a bouquet of flowers for victims of mine explosion lie on the road near the Pike River mine at Greymouth, New Zealand, Tuesday, June 28, 2011.

Plans for a new great walk in Paparoa National Park to remember the 29 men who lost their lives in the 2010 Pike River mine disaster have been finalised.

The 65km Pike29 Memorial Track will go from Blackball to Punakaiki and include parts of the existing Croesus Track and Pororari River Track.

There will be a 9km side track to the Pike River mine, where there will be an information centre at the amenities area and a discreet memorial at the mine portal.

The idea was first mooted in January 2015 and has the backing of the majority of Pike River families.

Environment Minister Nick Smith says the government is working closely with the families on the design and development of the track.

The new great walk will include two new 20-bed huts on the Moonlight Tops and on a ridge between the Pororari and Punakaiki River catchments.

It will be open to both walkers and mountain bikers.

With the route finalised and marked out on the ground, the next step is to work on the detailed design.

The project will cost $10 million and will be the largest new investment in a track since the Department of Conservation was created in 1987, Dr Smith said.

It's hoped construction will begin later this year, with the track opening in late 2018.

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