The Whanganui District Council's property and community services committee has passed a series of recommendations for the potential roofing of the velodrome..
Committee chairwoman Helen Craig said the council has commissioned numerous reports over the past 10 to 15 years.
She said the council supports roofing the velodrome in order to protect the existing asset, the velodrome track. It now requires a speedy and final resolution of the council's
commitment to this existing asset and the proposal to roof the velodrome.
The committee agreed that a working group made up of council chief executive Kym Fell, chief executive of Whanganui & Partners Mark Ward, Mayor Hamish McDouall, councillor Philippa Baker-Hogan and the committee chairs, Helen Craig, Kate Joblin and Alan Taylor, be formed.
The working group will be required to formulate "terms of reference" and appoint a suitably experienced independent expert to provide a review of the velodrome project and a report and recommendations are to be provided to the council no later than June 30, 2020.
Fell said the group will be "looking for independence from a report writer" in order to make a final decision on the project.
Craig's report stated that councillors require certainty that the information provided through numerous reports is relevant and robust and that any information gaps are filled. Councillors also need to know with certainty the financial commitment required, both capital and operational.
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Councillor Philippa Baker-Hogan was absent from Tuesday's meeting but said later that she is "stoked" that a time-frame has been set.
"Both National and Labour have indicated their willingness to fund a roof for the velodrome so it would be foolish of us as a council not to keep the pressure on."
Baker-Hogan is serving a fifth term on the council after campaigning for re-election on the velodrome roof completion as one of her main concerns.
She has worked with the Regional Velodrome Development Trust, a dedicated group of volunteers who have devoted years of their time to designing and researching plans for covering the velodrome.
Trust members Leigh Grant and Bob Smith have a long history of supporting the project and remain committed to seeing its completion.
Although they have effectively been dismissed from discussions with the council, for now, they say they are pleased by the recommendations made at Tuesday's meeting, and that a final decision is in sight.
"We see it as a positive thing," says Grant. "It means that there is now a definite time-frame."
Smith, a retired engineer, first became involved with the project in 2000 while working for Opus International Consultants.
"We submitted a proposal to the council to raise funds for the project on a design, build and operate basis which was rejected as roofing for the velodrome was not seen as a priority at the time."
Smith said the velodrome at Cooks Gardens, built by designer Ron Webb in 1995 was the first of its kind in New Zealand and Webb advised that it would need to be covered within five years to avoid deterioration.
The Regional Velodrome Development Trust has continued its research and consulted numerous experts on their plans for the velodrome and Grant says he can reassure ratepayers that there will not be high maintenance costs if the plan for a covered velodrome is adopted.
"We are ratepayers too and we're retired so we don't want to see rate increases ourselves. We have done our homework very thoroughly."
The men say government funding for the project is conditional upon the facility being used for other activities as well as cycling and they have investigated those.
"The track surrounds a huge area which we have worked out could seat up to 6000 people so it would be perfect for all-weather music concerts or other events.
"It would be perfect for inline skating and other sporting events that don't compete with those offered at other Whanganui venues."
The council working group report on the velodrome roof will be required to cover the practical ability and financial viability of the existing facility with a roof, to be utilised for multiple uses, including events such as concerts.