A sod or a mountain bike wheel is yet to be turned, but the mere idea of Eskdale Park becoming a MTB hub has prompted a petition with more than 300 signatures against it.
Hastings District Council is set to consult on a potential redevelopment of the park, about 4km up State Highway 5, which includes the informally shared idea of turning it into a hub for mountain bikers in the region.
The family-friendly Shaw Rd park, which runs adjacent to the Esk River, has playground equipment including a climbing wall, swings, monkey bars, slides and balancing planks.
The petition, set up by Trina Bergloff-Howes, has over 300 signatures and claims that Hawke's Bay Mountain Bike Club's idea would "take the direction of the Eskdale Park away from being the beautiful natural green country park it is currently".
"The park is the only country park in the Esk Valley area. It deserves to be protected and set up as a natural reserve and green space for families to enjoy both now and into the future."
Hastings District Council public spaces and building assets manager Colin Hosford said consultation on a potential mountain bike hub formed part of a 10-year master plan for the park.
"The Hawke's Bay Mountain Bike Club has informally shared its aspirations to potentially develop a mountain bike hub at Eskdale Park," he said.
Hosford said the hub would likely require car parking and a bridge spanning the Esk River to provide access to proposed new tracks in the soon to be developed mountain bike park in Pan Pac forest land.
"While consultation and engagement hasn't formally commenced, a petition has been received by council that asks council to preserve the park as it is," he added.
Hawke's Bay Mountain Bike Club chairman Scott Richardson said while thousands of hours of planning work had gone into the idea, it was not fully-formed enough to share full details of it widely.
"We've engaged with Pan Pac and Hastings District Council for over three years around this project, so it hasn't come out of the blue," he said.
He said the club, made up of volunteers, were "trying to future proof the sport of mountain biking in Hawke's Bay for the next 25 years".
Hastings District Council plans to hold a community meeting regarding Eskdale Park's redevelopment possibilities at Hukarere Girls' College on Wednesday, September 9.
Hosford said the date may be adjusted amid Covid-19 gathering restrictions.
"Once the community meeting is held, it will provide an opportunity for the wider community to share their views about the park - what they like and dislike, what needs preserving, what needs renewing and any potential new activities or features that might enhance enjoyment of the park," he said.
Consultation will also remain open on the 'myvoicemychoice' website for several weeks after the community meeting.
Attempts to contact petition creator Bergloff-Howes on Thursday were unsuccessful.