A Gore man who has quietly gone about his business spreading gravel to make walking and biking tracks has been recognised for his efforts.
Hokonui Mountain Bike Club urban trails co-ordinator Maurice Broome received a Civic Award at the Gore District Council Community Awards on Friday night.
Mr Broome said he had been invited to go to the community awards to hear Olympic medallist BMX biker Sarah Walker speak and had no idea he was going to receive an award.
When at the end of the evening Mayor Tracy Hicks started to speak about someone who was going to be given an award for helping to build biking and walking trails in the town, it took him a minute to realise who the mayor was talking about, Mr Broome said.
“Things started to fall together” and he thought “hell, that’s me”.
“I was absolutely gobsmacked, overwhelmed really,” Mr Broome said.
About six years ago he became aware of a need for places for children to ride their bikes once they became too big to use the Gore Host Lions Club bike park in Richmond St.
“Once they get too big for there, there’s no trails for them to safely ride on,” Mr Broome said.
He and a team of volunteers started the trail project in Hamilton Park, extending the Waikaka Way track, which the Gore Rotary Club built in about 2005.
“We’ve joined up the dots a little bit and added to that .. It’s a 1.7km loop track, which is fantastic.”
The track was popular with walkers.
“People start using the track early in the mornings,” Mr Broome said.
“It’s just been fantastically utilised.”
It was rewarding seeing people use the tracks, he said.
“When I see family groups riding on the tracks it’s very satisfying.
“I’m a lot happier if they are riding on a trail rather than the side of the road.”
The tracks also gave people on mobility scooters access to the parks and reserves.
At the moment he was working on a track from Walnut Grove to Hamilton Park, Mr Broome said.
Landpro’s Hamish Weir had drawn him a plan for tracks to be laid throughout Gore.
“We’re trying to pick low-traffic areas so the children and adults can get confidence riding on tracks and across roads and along roads without being intimidated by the traffic.”
He was hoping a footbridge would eventually be built over the Mataura River near the Longford crossing.
The crossing north of the traffic bridge was used in the days before a bridge was built.
“The Gore traffic bridge is horrendously dangerous for cyclists.”
He was especially concerned about children living in East Gore.
“These guys have been isolated because of that bridge.
“The kids in East Gore have very few options getting to the heritage centre, the library and the schools.”
The council donated gravel and chipped asphalt as building materials for the tracks.
“We’re doing this at very little cost to the council.”
Allied Concrete had also donated gravel.
He had made more than a 100 trips in his ute carrying material to be shovelled on to tracks.
“I’ve done that many trips, I’ve stopped counting.”
Fortunately, his friend Andrew McIntyre organised trucks to deliver gravel now.