Bike Northland wheels in plans for former tip

By Sophie Ryan

Bike Northland has plans to turn Whangarei's closed landfill site into a world-class cycle park.

The Whangarei District Council Infrastructure and Service Committee is meeting today to discuss the proposal for Pohe Island put forward by Bike Northland.

The plan is for a bike park that would include riding paths, a learn-to-ride facility, the BMX track that was built for the 2009 National BMX Championship, and a cycling "hub" that could be a multi-sport facility for clubs and the public.

The proposal is estimated as a three-year plan and budgeted at $4.5 million.

This would make Pohe Island the only base for cycling activities in Northland.

Bike Northland co-ordinator Stuart Bell said almost 20 per cent of people in Whangarei cycled, and throughout the country un-organised sports, such as cycling, fishing and walking, were the most popular recreational activities.

"The key with this proposal is that it is open to the general public, there is no club fee, and it will bring us up to speed with the rest of the country," he said.

The council said it would also tie in with the walk/cycleway around the Whangarei Town Basin that would be completed by the end of 2013.

Pohe Island was the Whangarei landfill for many years, but operations were closed and the land used for the BMX track as well as a skate park and a dog park.

Bike Northland also sees opportunities for triathlon and duathlon training, and orienteering clubs to use the facilities.

The BMX track has attracted national and international racers for training, as well as hosting North Island championships in October this year.

Bike Northland said in a report that the use of the BMX track since 2009 boosted the Whangarei economy by $8 million.

The council has already approved the use of land as a cycling facility and a lease will be drafted for Bike Northland to approve.

- Northern Advocate

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