Development plans for the Waipa mountain bike park have sparked concern from some locals about what the upgrades will mean for the natural aspects of the park as well as businesses within Rotorua central city.

Last week the Rotorua Daily Post revealed planned upgrades to the Waipa mountain bike park including renovations to the carpark, a health and well-being complex with timber spas alongside facilities such as bike-hiring services and retail and hospitality services, including a cafe/restaurant/bar.

There have been mixed reactions towards the news as people have raised concern about it taking away from a natural outdoor experience, but landowner Red Stag Investments says its aspirations are complementary to the site.

Managing director Jason Cordes said Red Stag saw its aspirations for the site as complementary to the landscape and trails, improving the facilities and infrastructure, while maintaining the natural beauty of the backdrop.


"Event space will remain, as will public access and utilisation as it has for the past 10 years," he said.

"The Waipa Valley is synonymous with wood-processing, forestry and mountain biking. We now want to add to this successful trifecta for the region by building on the tourism ventures to support the economic development of Rotorua while maintaining the unique natural appeal of the destination

Mr Cordes said it would be similar to Eat Streat by showcasing timber and natural materials, which were planned to resonate through the design, as would natural planting to transition users into the forest.

"Red Stag is committed to reinforcing Rotorua as the Southern Hemisphere's premiere mountain biking destination, via the support in the National Cycling Centre of Excellence (Cambridge Velodrome and Rotorua for Mountain Biking) and the upgraded facilities in the Waipa Valley.

"To do nothing would see Rotorua lose this revered position to other regions such as Queenstown, which would not reflect the strong commitment from the clubs, community and commercial business supporting the region's mountain biking."

Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Darrin Walsh said Rotorua people should support the proposal that fits in with Rotorua's image as a tourist destination.

"It's a development for our future and the chamber supports developments that go hand in hand in how people see Rotorua as an outdoor adventure area," he said.

"It will bring more tourists here and will be an added attraction for locals as well. It's not about destroying what's a naturally beautiful spot, it's about enhancing the area for everyone to enjoy."

He said the chamber was in favour of any development that brought people and business to Rotorua.

"You are never going to have a business that won't affect someone else.

"This hub will drag people to Rotorua."

Meanwhile, Zippy Central Bar & Cafe manager Simon Kerr said he thought the changes that had already been made to the toilets, showers and the ones being made to the carpark were a great idea.

"I'm not so sure about the idea of spas and bars and what not.

"I think it detracts from the CBD ... It would make it unnecessary for people to come into town," he said.