Queenstown bike park saved

The jump park took about 10 years and hundreds of volunteer hours to build. Photo: Mountain Scene
The jump park took about 10 years and hundreds of volunteer hours to build. Photo: Mountain Scene
After a rallying cry from Queenstown’s mountain biking community, which got the attention of international professional bikers and an offer of financial help from a resort billionaire, the world-renowned Gorge Road Jump Park has been saved at the eleventh hour.

Rod Drury. Photo: ODT files
Rod Drury. Photo: ODT files

Businessman Rod Drury struck a deal with Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult this afternoon to save the jump park, which took about 10 years and hundreds of volunteer hours to build.

The council had planned on using it as a laydown area to support the construction of the Queenstown arterial route.

In 2018, it gave notice to the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club that its lease over the land would end - a new site at Kerry Drive on Queenstown Hill was settled on in March this year.

While the club’s lease over Gorge Rd ended on July 1, club founder and park designer and builder Nathan Greenwood enlisted a group of businessmen, including Mr Drury, to lobby the council to change its mind.

Mr Drury confirmed the council had done just that today.

‘‘We’ve just worked with them - the council’s found another space, some of the money I’ve been investing will help fund the council for that new space so they can put some pipes down for a period of time and do the work they need,
which has allowed us to save the park,’’ he said.

‘‘The idea now is to keep investing in the space - there’s a lot more we can do now there’s a bit of certainty around it.

‘‘Also, it’s a really nice win because the council’s still keen to keep investing in the Kerry Dr site. It’s not going to cost them any more money to have the two.’’

Park designer Nathan Greenwood. Photo: ODT files
Park designer Nathan Greenwood. Photo: ODT files
Mr Drury said the club was excited about the potential of Kerry Dr, and what it would mean for Queenstown’s reputation globally as a mountain biking destination, to make ‘‘Queenstown the Whistler of the southern hemisphere’’.

‘‘We really are investing to make Queenstown one of the top global biking towns - and that obviously benefits the whole community, which we think is a good thing.

‘‘Council’s been really good and open, but having the local community here activate the global pros really demonstrated the importance that Queenstown has in the global biking community.

‘‘It’s great to get this result to slingshot all the biking brand work that Destination Queenstown’s doing and it’s really woken everybody up.

‘‘As we stand today, it’s a really positive thing to be able to move forward on.’’

Mr Greenwood said he was ‘‘ecstatic’’ and plans to start consultation on future development at Gorge Rd tomorrow, which he sees as potentially becoming the ‘‘bike hub of Queenstown’’.

‘‘I’m finally glowing again ... I was a little bit stressed out there for a couple of minutes, which isn’t really me.

‘‘I actually feel like it would have been a strong case without somebody financially backing it ... people’s hearts should win and should be listened to - but also, to have that support from somebody saying, ‘At any stage we can bail this out and
sort this out’, sometimes it does come down to money.

‘‘I feel like everybody’s just got to move forward positively.’’



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