Toilets on bike park agenda

Riders take part in the Cromwell BMX Club Easter Monday Racing at the Cromwell Bike Park. The...
Riders take part in the Cromwell BMX Club Easter Monday Racing at the Cromwell Bike Park. The Cromwell Community Board is seeking feedback on proposed "tweaks" to the reserve management plan for the Neplusultra St Reserve, where the park is situated. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON
Being caught short could become a thing of the past for users of the Cromwell Bike Park.

Situated on the council-owned Neplusultra Reserve on the corner of Achil and Neplusultra Sts, the bike park has grown in popularity since it opened in 2016, with the pump track, BMX track and line of mountainbike jumps attracting riders and families from across the region.

The Cromwell BMX Club regularly holds local BMX meets and in 2022 the track hosted the BMX New Zealand South Island Titles with more than 290 riders from throughout New Zealand converging on the park to compete.

Despite being well utilised, the absence of public toilets on site has required users to leave in order to answer the call of nature.

Toilets were set to be built on the reserve last year with an Exeloo prefabricated toilet purchased by the Central Otago District Council, thanks to a $235,000 from the government’s Better Off Funding programme. However, there was one small glitch — the Neplusultra Reserve management plan 2002 stipulated "not to provide public toilets at the reserve".

At the time of the plan’s implementation the majority of reserve users were associated with organisations such as the Cromwell Squash Club which had access to toilet facilities in their premises.

The council also provided toilet facilities at the Alpha St Reserve — only two blocks from the Neplusultra St Reserve — and it was believed people who needed to go to the toilet would make their way there.

However, in practice this has not happened, with calls for a toilet at the park increasing to prevent people from relieving themselves behind the trees.

Last week, the Cromwell Community Board agreed to a partial review of the reserve management plan to make some "tweaks".

Two amendments are proposed — removing the no-toilets policy on the reserve to enable the council to establish a public toilet, and to reduce existing grassed beautification strips from 30m to 15m on street frontages.

The latter would enable the council to formalise structural improvements carried out by the Cromwell Bike Park and the Cromwell BMX Club.

During the meeting, Cr Neil Gillespie said when the plan was reviewed previously the discussions centred around the fact there were already toilets that were "close enough".

"Obviously, the use has changed significantly, so there’s a bit of a lesson for us as we do these plans in the future — not to necessarily make them so tight that you actually don’t have to go and do a review that enables something that, in the end, becomes reflective of where the world has moved on to during the life of the plan", he said.

The community are invited to give their feedback with consultation on the two proposed changes open today and closing on May 9.

The proposed changes will be considered by the Cromwell Community Board and recommended to the council for approval on May 21.