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Cattle on the rotary pathways are messy and will discourage cyclists from using the facility, a Havelock North woman says.
Christine Treacher and her husband frequently cycled along the Pakowhai to Awatoto pathway but had been put off in the last few months by the number of cow pats, which she described as nasty and potentially dangerous.
"It would be extremely slippery after it rains," Mrs Treacher said.
"We gave up on the other pathway because of the big mess from the cattle. It was so hazardous, we just stopped using it."
Until recently cattle had been kept off the pathway by electric fences but the fences were taken down and now the pathway was pitted by cattle crossing it and was covered in cow pats.
Mrs Treacher said they had used the path frequently because it had been the only pathway near her home that was not damaged by cattle. They had been cycling in the area for about 18 months.
Council staff had told them the cow pats were not dangerous and they could just wash their bicycles when they got home.
But a friend who had been a dairy farmer told her that the cow pats could potentially contain diseases such as salmonella.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council operations group manager Graeme Hansen said fencing had been trialled along the Pakowhai pathway because the council wanted to find out if it was feasible to keep cattle out of the area.
Unfortunately the expense of maintaining the path and surroundings proved too much. The grass had to be kept short and even to aid with flood protection.
The council found that cattle caused damage to the stopbank when they were confined to a specific area and this damage had been reduced now that they were spread out more.
"This change may not suit some people, but council's first priority to ratepayers is to provide flood control for their homes and property," operations manager Graeme Hansen said.
Mrs Treacher said she felt the council was letting down pathway users.