Waikato has won the right to build a National Cycling Centre of Excellence, beating challenges from Auckland and Palmerston North.

The Waikato Regional Council yesterday agreed to contribute $6 million towards the $28.5 million velodrome.

Within half an hour of the council's decision, the chief executive of Sport and Recreation NZ (Sparc), Peter Miskimmin, confirmed Waikato/Bay of Plenty was the successful bidder. The others were Auckland and Palmerston North.

The Government will contribute $7 million towards the facility to be built at St Peter's School, near Cambridge, by June 2013.


Councillors had abuse hurled at them, were called names, yelled at and told they wouldn't be re-elected by about 50 members of the public after they voted 6-3 to fund the indoor velodrome and Bike NZ headquarters.

Councillors Peter Buckley, Simon Friar, Stuart Kneebone, Laurie Burdett, Phillip Legg and Norm Barker said they supported the decision because it was too good an opportunity for the region to miss.

Councillors Jane Hennebry, Tony Armstrong and Theresa Stark were opposed. Councillors Russ Rimmington and Lois Livingston declared conflicts of interest and left the meeting. Another councillor, Paula Southgate, was on leave.

Council chairman Peter Buckley said the community was split over the decision and acknowledged not everyone would be happy with the outcome.

In a public consultation process, 60 per cent of submitters were opposed, and a telephone survey showed 48 per cent opposed and 44 per cent in support.

The council has approved the conditional funding by way of an internal loan from its investment fund to be repaid over 20 years by a flat region-wide rate, estimated at $3.18 a year per rateable property.

Home of Cycling Trust has raised some of the additional money needed through donations and sponsors and chief executive Geoff Balme is confident the trust will secure the remaining $7.2 million needed before the centre opens.

"We have a number of irons in the fire that over the next couple of weeks we will re-engage with those people.


"The reality is we have now got at least an 18-month programme of building and we don't need all this money at the beginning - we just need it all at the end."

Mr Balme was pleased with the outcome after nine months' hard work.

He said the trust would now complete its design for the facility and in a further three months complete a tender process for contractors before site work began.

He expected construction of the building would take 15 months.

Mr Miskimmin said Waikato/Bay of Plenty won the bid on a "balance of many things", including its connection with Bike NZ, the surrounding training environment and its proximity to Rowing NZ's headquarters at Lake Karapiro.