Sled-dog plans may be scuttled

Training . . . Sled Dogs New Zealand member Larry Nichvolodov, of Dunedin, says the re-opening of...
Training . . . Sled Dogs New Zealand member Larry Nichvolodov, of Dunedin, says the re-opening of John Wilson Ocean Dr is likely to scuttle plans to create a sled-dog training zone. Photo" by Jonathan Chilton-Towle
The Dunedin City Council's decision to re-open John Wilson Ocean Dr to traffic may have put paid to plans to have a dedicated ski-dog training track in the area.

Dunedin man Larry Nichvolodov, of Ski Dogs New Zealand, has been using John Wilson Ocean Dr to train for sled-dog sports, a series of winter sports involving skiing and sledding with dogs, since late 2010.

He is now training for the International Federation of Sleddog Sports 2013 world championships, which will be held in Fairbanks, Alaska.

In a submission to the Dunedin City Council about the future of John Wilson Ocean Dr, Mr Nichvolodov offered to pay $10,000 towards the creation of a dedicated skate track on the drive.

Mr Nichvolodov believed the best place for the track was the centre of the road.

He envisioned it being about 1m wide and between 600m and 700m long.

In October, the council decided to re-open the drive to vehicles between 11am and 3pm on weekdays from early next year.

The drive is to be resealed at a cost of $160,000.

Mr Nichvolodov said it was not likely to be possible to use the area for ski-dog training if it was open to vehicles but he would wait and see what happened.

There was nowhere else he could train in Dunedin, he said.

"You need the width, and sparsity of people.

"Cars and people on skate-skis with dogs don't mix," he said.

Ski Dogs New Zealand would not want to be associated with a skate park that had cars driving through it as it would be too dangerous, he said.

Mr Nichvolodov said he was not happy about council decision to open the road.

"To take it all over for vehicles, I don't think they were listening to the people."

Council parks and recreation manager Lisa Wheeler said the council would meet Mr Nichvolodov to discuss his proposal.

John Wilson Ocean Dr has been closed to vehicles since 2006 when work to extend the Tahuna sewage outfall pipe began.

- Jonathan Chilton-Towle


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