Vision realised . . . Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull (left) is joined at Sunday's official opening of the West Harbour Recreation Trail by (from left) Rotary Club of Dunedin project leaders Neil Lyons and Darrel Robinson, landscape architect Mick Field and Taskforce Green representative Morgan Jopson. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

A bitterly cold wind did little to chill the spirits of about 50 people who gathered for Sunday’s official opening of the West Harbour Recreation Trail.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull unveiled a plaque commemorating the five-year, $150,000 project to beautify the West Harbour cycleway-walkway, plant native flora and install exercise and recreation equipment for the public.

Mr Cull paid tribute to the Rotary Club of Dunedin for having the vision to come up with the project, and to all the volunteers, including the Taskforce Green team, for the “huge effort” to bring it to fruition.

Rotary Club of Dunedin president Sarah Warhurst told the gathering the project concept was launched in 2012, with the aim of providing exercise and recreation opportunities along the 2.3km stretch of the shared pathway between the boat harbour and Maia.

The design of the project was completed by landscape architect Mick Field, who provided detailed plans for planting, equipment and interpretive panels along the pathway, Ms Warhurst said.

The project had involved members of the Rotary Clubs of Dunedin and Dunedin North, led by Rotarians Darrel Robinson and Neil Lyons.

Taskforce Green workers and community volunteers also had major input into the project.

The result had been the establishment of five exercise areas, featuring 13 items of equipment, a mini park at the Ravensbourne footbridge, a barbecue area, a t’ai chi area, picnic tables and seats, and 15 interpretive panels.

“It also involved the spreading of 400 cubic metres of woodchips, volunteer input in excess of 5000 hours and huge input from Taskforce Green,” Ms Warhurst said.

“It has been a great project for the clubs and for the city, and we owe everyone involved a huge vote of thanks.”

Rotary District 9980 governor Bruce Cowan added his congratulations to those involved in the project, and noted the huge support from Dunedin businesses, funding trusts, the Otago Regional Council and the Dunedin City Council.

He also praised the project co-ordinators for their leadership.

“It is a real challenge maintaining momentum and enthusiasm for a long-term project like this .. and a huge undertaking to make it happen – congratulations,” he said.

“Now that the vision is a reality, it was a superb vision.

“Watching so many people using and enjoying the amenities gives a great deal of satisfaction, and will do for many years.”

The completed works will be maintained by the city council as a public recreation area.

PUTTING DOWN ROOTS: The remainder of the planting at the West Harbour Recreational Trail will be carried out under the Trees for Babies (Celebrating Families) Project, jointly led by Keep Dunedin Beautiful and the Rotary Club of Dunedin. This year’s planting will be held at 10am on Mother’s Day, May 13.