Councillors vote to put $6m towards velodrome

The velodrome will be built at the National Cycling Centre at St Peter's School, near Cambridge. File Photo / Mark Mitchell
The velodrome will be built at the National Cycling Centre at St Peter's School, near Cambridge. File Photo / Mark Mitchell

The deed committing the Waikato Regional Council to contributing $6 million for the region's $28.5 million indoor velodrome and cycling centre has been signed - but the money is at least six months away from being sealed and delivered.

The council voted 6-4 yesterday to sign the deed to meet lead funder Sport and Recreation New Zealand's (Sparc) requirements, several of which have already been included in a business plan. The velodrome is to be completed by June 2013.

The signing cements the council's controversial decision in September to support the project, prompting Sparc to announce the Waikato/Bay of Plenty as the successful bidder for the National Cycling Centre, which will be built at St Peter's School near Cambridge.

The latest update received by the council showed that the Home of Cycling Trust was struggling to raise the $7.2 million required and applications totalling $500,000 to four gaming trusts had been knocked back, as had a bid to obtain a $1.5 million grant from the Lottery Grants Board.

The trust is now approaching three banks about naming rights sponsorship.

If this is successful the original naming rights sponsor, the Perry Group, would change its deal and provide some money upfront.

In a letter to the council, Home of Cycling Trust chief executive Geoff Balme said the challenge had been convincing the Lottery Grants Board the project had national significance and was more than an elite cycling track.

The council's rates control team - councillors Russ Rimmington, Theresa Stark, Tony Armstrong and Jane Hennebry - lost their argument that there were too many holes in the deed.

They supported Mr Rimmington's call for the agreement to be put on hold until they received the next funding update in February. Ms Stark said the deed didn't safeguard the public.

Mr Rimmington doubted any new funding would be secured by the February update. He said the trust hadn't raised a "single cracker" since September and it was becoming clear the money wasn't there.

The council's finance group manager, Mike Garrett, said the deed included provisions which allowed the council to pull out of the deal if its requirements were not met.

The council was reassured its $6 million donation would not change, regardless of whether the trust achieved charitable trust status.

- NZ Herald

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