Rotorua will be the site of one of three elite-level BMX tracks in the country after Rotorua Lakes Council approved the lease of reserve land at Waipa to the Rotorua BMX Club.
The $1 million plus facility will be built on the corner of State Highway 5 and Waipa Mill Rd after a 20-year lease was granted to the club at a meeting of the council's operations and monitoring committee yesterday.
Officials say the new track will have the potential to attract national and international BMX events to the city.
The reserve, popularly known as Horse Paddock, would allow the club's existing track and club facilities to be relocated from its present site on Te Ngae Rd.
At present only two elite-level BMX tracks exist in New Zealand - in Auckland and Wellington.
In its current long-term plan the council has committed funding of $1.08 million for developing the area, of which approximately $775,000 has been allocated to the construction of an access bridge to Horse Paddock and car parking.
Council staff said in a report that the track was seen as a natural fit with an area which already had a focus on biking activities and would reinforce Rotorua's reputation as a biking centre of excellence.
Rotorua BMX Club president Melanie Short said she was "stoked" with the decision.
"It gives us the permission to go to the new location and it's going to be amazing to be so close to the mountain-biking trails and in a more public area."
Mrs Short said the club had already raised $1 million after generous grants from the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust and New Zealand Community Trust but were on the lookout for corporate sponsors as well.
"With a track like this you can really develop some great riders into the Sarah Walkers of the future. Our track is pretty good at the moment but we could do a lot better at the new site."
She said with the funding received so far the club could "build something really impressive" but the first step was to build a bridge over the stream to gain better access to the site.
During the meeting, councillor Peter Bentley expressed some concern regarding traffic management near the site, which was at a busy intersection on a state highway.
Council staff advised him talks were under way with Red Stag and Timberlands to possibly stop recreational traffic from mixing with commercial traffic, such as logging trucks, in the future.
New BMX Track
A $1 million plus facility
Will be one of three elite-level BMX tracks in New Zealand
Council has granted a 20-year lease on the site
Construction to start early next year