Altered bike park agreed in principle

Cromwell's new bike park is nearly out of the starting blocks.

The Central Otago District Council has agreed in principle, subject to an amended concept plan, to part of the Neplusultra Recreation Reserve in the town being leased for such a development, almost two years after the idea was first mooted.

The plan initially generated opposition from some landowners in the area concerned about the loss of passive recreation space and the potential for the venture to attract antisocial behaviour, vandalism and noise.

In May last year, the Cromwell Community Board agreed in principle to lease part of the reserve for a bike park, but the matter was held up after a lawyer acting for some of the opponents said the board followed a flawed process in making its decision.

After seeking a legal opinion, the board decided in November to continue with the lease for an amended, scaled-down bike park, to alleviate some of the opponents' concerns.

Conditions were included about access to the nearby Lions club base and former girl guides building, landscaping of the site, hours of use and a prohibition on amplified sound systems at the park.

Formerly, any lease over a recreation reserve had to be approved by the minister of conservation, but that changed on June 12 this year, when the minister, Nick Smith, delegated his authority on the matter to the local authority in the relevant area.

The lease came before the council last week for ratification and it approved the proposed lease on behalf of Dr Smith.

''That was our last hurdle to get over and now we can go forward from this point on,'' Cromwell Bike Park Inc president Pierre Leyser said this week.

''For us, the process battle may be over, but the hard work is really starting.''

The group's next move was to finalise the documents, seek tenders for the project and explore funding options.

''All going well, we'd like to have the park completed by the first quarter next year,'' Mr Leyser said.

The proposed park would cater for all age groups and capabilities, with a BMX track, a jump park for more advanced cyclists and a ''learn-to-ride'' section for beginners.

''It's all about the kids. We're not trying to duplicate facilities that are in other areas but we want to cater for the kids in Cromwell, '' Mr Leyser said.

 

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