Learn-to-ride bike parks on track

Construction on the Kurow learn-to-ride bike park is nearing completion. It is expected to be...
Construction on the Kurow learn-to-ride bike park is nearing completion. It is expected to be opened about the same time as a similar track under construction further south, in Palmerston. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/GARY KIRCHER
They may be smaller than that of Oamaru, but Kurow and Palmerston's learn-to-ride bike parks will serve exactly the same purpose.

Construction of the two tracks is well under way and both are expected to be completed at a yet-to-be confirmed date, likely to be next month, before they are officially opened.

The tracks will allow children in Palmerston and the Waitaki Valley region to develop road safety skills in a dedicated, controlled and safe environment.

The Waitaki District Council kicked-started the project to the tune of $100,000 for each track and additional external funding was secured by both the Ahuriri and Waihemo community boards, and other community organisations, including the Waitaki Valley Society.

In Palmerston, schools were also involved in the process.

In addition, dirt tracks will be constructed for older riders at both sites over the autumn and winter period.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said while the sealed tracks will be smaller in size than Oamaru's about 720sqm, $250,000 track, the goal was the same.

"They are definitely smaller tracks, we had to be a wee bit proportional to populations, so they're definitely a narrower track. The idea is to make them very similar.

The good thing has been the communities have grabbed the opportunities to make them their own.

"It's something that was originally formed alongside the Oamaru one, so it's something that took a bit longer to get under way there, but it's captured the imagination of the local communities and they're really making it their own."

He said both towns had ended up with larger facilities "than what council money alone would have achieved", which was a "great result".

It was possible similar tracks could be constructed in other towns in the district.

"This is something that could be replicated in our further away areas. It would be great to think we could have these family-friendly facilities popping up in other parts of the Waitaki district as well."

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