ALTHOUGH HE acknowledges he is a middle-aged man in lycra, Napier City Council chief executive Wayne Jack is shutting down concerns the proposed multi-use sports facility is a "vanity project" for him.
Some residents raised this concern as Mr Jack is an active cyclist, and member of the Ramblers cycling club who have thrown their support behind a velodrome.
"This is not my project. I actually have to manage all projects within council," he said. "Yes I am a MAMIL, a middle-aged man in lyrca, it is my current form of exercise I use to keep active and manage stress and just get out and enjoy Hawke's Bay.
"But at the same time I was a Cook Strait swimmer," he said. "I was the NZ Iron Man champion for surf lifesaving, I held swimming Hawke's Bay records. We are also working on a major upgrade and new swimming pool to our aquatic facilities, I don't see people coming out saying I'm conflicted in regards to that one as well."
As CE, Mr Jack said he was responsible for the management of all council projects - ensuring they had the right governance, were properly assessed, and ensuring the right objectives had been met.
Most members of the Ramblers cycling club - who come from all areas of the region - would welcome the opportunity to have a velodrome facility in Hawke's Bay, chairman Don Kennedy said, especially given their support of Hastings District Council's unsuccessful bid for one.
"They will benefit from having a track they can train on all year round, and although some see track riding and racing as somewhat elitist, for every young budding cyclist wanting to be the next Regan Gough, there are equally older riders who want to test and challenge themselves on a velodrome and not have to travel too far to do it," he said.
Having seen an impression of the design, Mr Kennedy said the elevated cycle track was a clever use of the space, as it would allow other sporting activities to carry on at the same time of cycling.
"The raised track means the focus is not just on cycling and this will have more appeal to ratepayers and funders. The multi-purpose use concept is probably easier to sell than if it was simply track cycling."
As a design of the facility had not been finalised, Mr Kennedy said it was difficult to say what Rambler members might think of it, however he imagined they would like it.
"As [Mr Jack] is an active Rambler's member, I am sure he will be canvassing members for their views and continued support."
Although the Pettigrew Green site seemed appropriate, Mr Kennedy said an ideal location would have been at the Regional Sports Park - "largely funded by Hastings DC and now supported by Sir Graeme Avery, who has bold plans to expand the use of that facility".
"It is a pity we couldn't have just one giant sporting complex funded by all three councils, but the two complexes, only kilometres apart, complement one another," he said.
"It is essential that both facilities have the full support of ratepayers in Hastings and Napier, and that they are identified as regional facilities. When it comes to sport, there is no room for politics or parochial thinking."