Schools will be the main benefactors of a new cycle-skills track that will be constructed at the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park in Hastings.
The track will be built under the iWay project which, over the past four years, had built walking and cycling-network tracks around Hastings district.
Hastings District Council's district development committee met yesterday and agreed to the track's inception, working with the regional sports park trust. The trust would provide bikes and a container on site to store the cycles, which would be available for schools and bike club members to use on the junior cycle track and the 2.3km limestone track around the perimeter of the sports park.
The cycle-skills track would provide an area for training pupils in their cycles in a safe, off-road environment and it was hoped it could be built before the Tour of the Bay cycle event in October, 2013.
The track is designed to simulate "real world" conditions such as intersections, roundabouts and car parks to allow children to be trained to navigate safely.
iWay project manager Owen Mata said the track would be located next to the netball courts at the sports park. The committee heard it would be similar to the skills track on Marine Parade in Napier, which had proved to be very popular.
Councillor Wayne Bradshaw asked whether the track would be better located at Windsor Park next to Splash Planet in Hastings where it could also serve as a tourist attraction.
Councillor Sandra Hazelhurst also pointed out the track would not enjoy a high public profile, like the Marine Parade track, because it would be tucked away inside the sports park.
"I want to make sure we are going to get community buy-in and take up to use this. It needs promotion so families know it's there and can take their children down to use it. It will need some kind of launch and open day. The last thing we want is for no one to use it."
Councillor Cynthia Bowers said the Napier track was regarded largely as a tourist attraction while the one at the sports park would also be used for recreation but its main purpose was cycle skills and training for children on bikes.
"In the future we have have similar track in other parks around Hastings, like in Windsor, but this one is fit for purpose."
It would cost about $100,000 to build the new track.