, Friday February 5) is a former Napier city councillor.' />

It really comes as no surprise that John Harrison (Talking Point, Hawke's Bay Today, Friday February 5) is a former Napier city councillor.

Napier doesn't need councillors with such ill-informed, distorted and negative views and with no concept of how to advance opportunities for sport and recreation and tourism in Napier, and in Hawke's Bay.

Hawke's Bay has the opportunity to become one of the pre-eminent cycling destinations in the country.

The 2016 Elite National road cycling championships were recently held in Napier.


Competitors and spectators alike heralded the events, held over 3 days, as a great success.

A velodrome is a new theme. It is not something to cater solely for the 300 plus cyclists who comprise the membership of the Ramblers club today.

Yes, many competitive road cyclists also compete on the track, but the training and the disciplines are very different.

A velodrome provides a new facility for a completely different style of competitive cycling.

It can provide events with great spectator and TV appeal, events which bring competitors, support teams and spectators to Hawke's Bay, and Hawke's Bay then has the opportunity to benefit in terms of tourist spend.

It provides a facility to develop an interest in cycling from young people who are not already involved, and it provides an environment to develop new Olympic and World champion cyclists.

Consider the growth and success of New Zealand track cycling since the construction of New Zealand's first indoor velodrome in Invercargill, in 2005/6.

New Zealand has had a number of world-class track cyclists over the years, but their progression and success has always been hampered by the lack of first class facilities at home.


That suddenly changed when the international standard 250 meter indoor velodrome was built. Local kids became involved and today some of them are World Champions.

That would never have happened without an international standard indoor velodrome, in country, and Invercargill should be applauded for taking the initiative.

It seems that those opposed to a velodrome don't bother to do their homework.

The facilities available with the velodrome in Invercargill are easy to discover.

Their website lists, in addition to the velodrome itself, seven wooden sprung multi-sport courts, an additional portable wooden court for elite sporting fixtures, 4 squash courts, 10 Clip 'N Climb walls, a climbing wall, and four function rooms.

The main sports arena in the stadium has a capacity of 4019, with retractable seating, all fully padded. It is a truly multi-purpose multi-user venue designed to cater for an array of events, be it sporting, recreational, cultural, corporate or exhibitions.

In the middle of the cycling track it has a pillar-less flat floor area of 2195m2 comprising four full-size multi-sport courts with Rebound Ace surface.

Motorised nets surround the courts which allow for the track and courts to be utilised at the same time.

Do a quick Google search for Invercargill Velodrome and look at the impressive images.

The facility has been in use every day since it was opened in May 2006.

The new velodrome at Cambridge is another first class facility, opened only last year, and hosted the Wold Cup track cycling round in early December.

That was a spectacular, stunning, and well organised event.

Forty countries were represented and seats sold out within a few days.

Imagine the benefits to the area from teams, support staff and visitors.

While the Cambridge velodrome is aimed primarily at high performance track cycling, the facility also has provision for other activities, a Life Fitness gym, café, and conference rooms.

It also is fully utilised with introductory sessions, club training sessions, organised school sessions, coached masters sessions and elite level coaching and training.

Where on earth did Mr Harrison get the idea that track cycling is an elite sport for the very few.

Absolute rubbish! Of course it is possible to spend $10,000, or even more, on an elite level track specific bike.

But entry level bikes cost under $900, and basic gear less than $200.

The 'Have a Go' programme in Cambridge provides anyone, 10 years or older, with a qualified coach who will first fit you with a bike and helmet, and will then give you some help and guidance to get started on the track. No bike, no helmet, no Lycra. Cost $15.

Absolutely, a robust business case is necessary, peer reviewed and with a proper risk assessment and analysis of variables.

But there are the two precedents, in Invercargill and Cambridge, which ought to enable costings to be more closely defined, and enable the benefits to be more accurately estimated.

It is an opportunity that Napier City Council ought to grasp with both hands.

The Council, and others, should also appreciate that this need not be a burden on ratepayers.

A high profile facility, such as a velodrome, will attract sponsorship and funding from Hawke's Bay corporates.

- Brian Anderson is a retired engineer and business analyst. He is still cycling after commencing racing on track and road 60 years ago.

- Business and civic leaders, organisers, experts in their field and interest groups can contribute opinions. The views expressed here are the writer's personal opinion and not the newspaper's. Email: editor@hbtoday.co.nz