Work has started on an innovative toilet, shower and changing room facility at the Waipa mountain bike carpark, with the building featuring an overhead cycle bridge and providing a stunning gateway into Whakarewarewa Forest.
The new $495,000 facility will feature 12 toilets including provision for disabled users and four showers with changing room space.
A cycle pathway through the centre of the unit will lead mountain bikers into the forest's network of trails, with another cycle route across the top of the building.
The facilities follow a successful joint bid by the Rotorua District Council and the Home of Cycling Trust to Sport NZ, for the National Mountain Biking Centre of Excellence to be based in Rotorua. Council parks and recreation manager Garry Page said toilet facilities at the Waipa mountain bike carpark had been provided by inadequate portaloos for almost seven years, after a composting toilet donated by the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club and installed in collaboration with Fletcher Challenge Forest, was destroyed by arson.
"We constantly receive complaints about the poor toilet facilities and about environmental concerns around the proximity of Puarenga Stream, and people relieving themselves in the bush. So a key component of our bid for the National Mountain Biking Centre of Excellence was a commitment to providing modern toilet and shower facilities at a cost of up to $500,000.
"We've incorporated the new facilities into a creative design serving as an impressive entranceway to Whakarewarewa Forest. People will be able to cycle both through the middle of the building and over the top to get into the forest.
"The Waipa carpark toilet block was designed by architect Andrew Byder, who also designed Red Stag Timber's mountain bike hotel being built on adjacent land. So the design of our new building complements the new mountain biking resort alongside."
Mr Page said art design features relating to forest activities would be incorporated into the building's internal partitions.
Rotorua Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson, a keen mountain biker and trustee of the Home of Cycling Trust, said it was great to see the toilet block under construction.
"The new facilities have got recreational users really excited. They're going to add to our district's growing reputation as a mountain biking destination of international acclaim.
"Over the past year, not a week would go by where I didn't have members of the public, particularly parents and family groups, expressing concern at the inadequacy of the current toilet facilities.
"The new toilet and shower building is going to be outstanding; practical and functional, as well as providing a strong sense of arrival for mountain bikers and other users of the forest."
The new facilities at the Waipa carpark were expected to be completed by the end of March 2014.