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by Greta Yeoman

A new bridge crossing the Tekapo White Water Course will be built at the end of this month.

Trust chairman Alan Hoffman said the bridge would make accessing both sides of the course easier.

At present, the only foot access to the opposite side of the course is at the top end by the surge gates, by Tekapo Canal Rd.

Mr Hoffman recalled one time a paddler dislocated his shoulder on the course, which happens occasionally to competitors. The injured man had to walk 500m up the course to the only pedestrian bridge at the top of the course, he said.

Parts of the new bridge are being built in different areas of South Canterbury and the sections will be put together to create the bridge by early September.

“We try to use local contractors so the money goes back into the local economy,” Mr Hoffman said.

It would allow easier vehicle and foot access, as well as another viewing point for those watching white water events, he said.

ongoing water remit agreement between the club and Genesis Energy, owners of the hydro-power station. Under the agreement, the club agrees to use less water than it is offered and it takes a cut of the money generated by that.

This totals about $24,000 per year for the trust to use on upkeep and course development.

The popular course opened in 2001 after natural whitewater conditions on the Pukaki River were ruined by the installation of the hydro dam.

The club bought electronic timing equipment this year with a grant from the Community Trust of Mid and South Canterbury, which had enabled event organisers to host national and international events on the slalom course.

This included the Canoe Slalom New Zealand Championships in March this year.

The trust will run the regular Tekapo Throwdown slalom event in October, as well as one of several New Zealand whitewater international events in January, as part of an international race series.

He said the club also hoped to install a third bridge in the future.