Mountain biking gains more funding

Mountain Biking Otago president Hamish Seaton in action on the Signal Hill track in Dunedin...
Mountain Biking Otago president Hamish Seaton on the Signal Hill track in Dunedin. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Mountain biking and Matariki were the only clear winners in yesterday’s annual plan deliberations, as just two projects received requested funding when Dunedin city councillors worked out who would receive additional support yesterday.

Dunedin City Council’s corporate policy team advised the city’s decision-makers an addition of about $160,000 of operating spending would add 0.1% to a rates rise targeted at 4.1% during the first day of deliberations on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, Cr Rachel Elder pushed for better support for the city’s growing mountain biking scene as Dunedin moves to a domestic tourism market.

"We have one of the top downhill facilities in all of Oceania," she said.

"Signal Hill and the events on Signal Hill made us a minimum of $980,000 in the last year. And that’s just the events, let alone the visitors."

Investment and a cohesive strategy around mountain biking was "a really, really big opportunity" for Dunedin to develop a low-carbon tourism product and create "one of the top cycling destination hubs in New Zealand".

In a 14-1 vote, only Cr Sophie Barker resisted the added investment, noting a lower than average daily spend for visitors that came to Dunedin for mountain biking.

Dunedin’s marketing plan was in a "refresh" phase and she argued councillors ought to "look at where the market is coming from before we look at product development".

Mountain Biking Otago had requested an increase in its annual maintenance grant from $30,000 to $80,000 to allow for a "range of initiatives to create and enhance existing tracks around the city, including the creation of a Dunedin Trails Trust".

Council staff identified 53 requests for funding for councillors’ consideration yesterday.

However, the vast majority were for an "unspecified" amount.

A funding request is listed as "unspecified" if there had been no specific amount attached to the request or if the total cost of the request was unclear, council documents state.


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