Super City velodrome shows 'regional vision'

By Bernard Orsman

A $35 million world standard indoor cycling track (left) could become the first major project for the Super City. Photo / Supplied
A $35 million world standard indoor cycling track (left) could become the first major project for the Super City. Photo / Supplied

A $35 million world standard indoor cycling track could become the first major project for the Super City.

Auckland councillors look set to back a bid for the velodrome at the Trusts Stadium in Henderson against competing bids from Hawkes Bay, Rotorua, Taupo, Waipa, Wanganui and Christchurch.

Sport and Recreation New Zealand (Sparc) is offering a $7 million grant towards building a national cycling centre and Auckland Council officers are recommending a $10 million contribution from ratepayers.

The other $18 million would be raised by The Trusts Stadium.

"This is the new council's first opportunity to demonstrate that it has the regional vision and unified approach required to encompass the development of a new international venue," officers say in a report to Thursday's council meeting.

If Auckland was successful in securing the only international standard velodrome in New Zealand - bids close on February 7 - the council would borrow $10 million for the unbudgeted project.

The borrowing costs would lead to a 0.07 rise in rates over three years.

Based on a business model peer-reviewed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the velodrome would fund itself without operational support from ratepayers.

It would also provide significant community benefits, including BMX and mountain bike participation and three courts in the inner circle of the velodrome for use by netball, basketball, touch turbo and other indoor sports.

The courts would add 50 per cent capacity to the Trust Stadium, with its more than 500,000 users a year.

Auckland Cycling president John Coker was delighted at the prospect of gaining council support on Thursday, saying Auckland would make an excellent centre for a high performance cycling facility.

"Auckland has a third of the country's population and the biggest untapped for future cyclists at all levels," he said.

Trusts Stadium chief executive Brian Blake was thankful about council support "full stop", but cagey about the funding package.

In a matter of weeks, the council's proposed contribution has reduced from $19 million to $10 million and the trusts' contribution has increased from $9 million to $18 million.

Mr Blake said it was his understanding the original proposition had been pegged back to just meet Sparc guidelines, which would "flow back" to the fundraising requirements by the stadium.

Cycling's youthful champions have also added their weight to a case for the indoor cycling track in Auckland.

Sprint cyclists Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell and endurance track rider Myron Simpson said the proposed facility would open opportunities for both competitive and recreational cyclists.

"It will offer more support and convenience for those who may want to take up the sport and will grow Olympic champions," said Webster, who has won junior world titles as well as Commonwealth Games and World Cup medals.

He and Mitchell started cycling while at school and say the number taking part in the Roadside school programme has doubled in five years.

"I know if we build the indoor velodrome in Auckland we will see even more cycling," said Mitchell.

Fellow Commonwealth Games team member Simpson, who lives at Howick, said the facility would attract residents of all Auckland as well as outside districts.

- NZ Herald

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