Dismay over park advice

A group of Cromwell residents are disappointed a legal opinion could see their local community board agree to building a BMX bike park in their midst.

The Neplusultra Reserve Residents Association opposed the building of a bike park on the recreation reserve when it previously came before the Cromwell Community Board.

The board agreed in principle to lease part of the reserve to proponents of the bike park in May, but at its June meeting, the association, through a lawyer, claimed the board's process when considering the proposal had been flawed.

That was because, among other things, the board was required to consider other possible locations for the bike park and because the reserve management plan was overdue for its 10-year review.

At that meeting, the board postponed any decision so it and the Central Otago District Council could seek a legal opinion.

The advice of lawyer Graeme Todd was that it was safe for the board to continue the process.

"It is my opinion that there is nothing raised in the concerns expressed by the residents' association via their lawyers ... which is of any concern to the council or the community board and that establishes the reporting and decision-making process that has been followed to date is unlawful," he said.

He also said the use of the reserve as a bike park would be consistent with the management plan and that because consideration of the lease for the bike park had begun before the management plan needed to be reviewed, "nobody could be said to be prejudiced by the fact that the review has not occurred".

Association spokesman John Quinn said they were disappointed with the opinion and, if the bike park went ahead, it would "go against the spirit and intent of the current reserve management plan, which promotes preservation of the natural environment and continued public access in conjunction with sporting and recreational usage".

A report by council property officer Brian Taylor to be considered by the board on Monday recommends it reaffirm its decision to grant the lease in principle, with conditions including prohibition of amplified sound systems, replanting and landscaping where appropriate, restricted hours of use, and display of a number to report vandalism or misbehaviour.

Bike park committee vice-president Paul Bisset said the group did not want to comment until after the board meeting.