The closed Whanganui Velodrome is hampering the training of the city's young cyclists, with one coach warning some will quit because of the travel needed to get time on the track.
The velodrome has been shut since February when a technician advised Whanganui District Council the track was deteriorating faster than it could be repaired, prompting a decision to close the facility.
It has now been more than six months since a split council vote halted plans to put a roof over the venue.
After that vote the council did agree to allocate $2.5m to the velodrome as part of its long-term plan but there is yet to be any decision over how that money would be spent.
Kenzy Compton 14, and her sister Kassidy, 11, are junior Whanganui cycling champions who would normally be training at the velodrome on an almost daily basis.
"At this time of year, we would be here at least five days a week," said mum Kylee Compton.
"We are currently travelling twice a week to Feilding to train and race."
Coach Lyall Hastie said it was frustrating to see the track closed at a time when it was most in demand.
"I think it could be made safe to use now," he said.
"If young cyclists are having to travel for training some of them are likely to give up. It is costing parents in time and expense to take their children elsewhere to train."
Councillor Philippa Baker-Hogan, who has championed the case for roofing the velodrome over several terms at council, said there had been recent reports of break-ins and vandalism at the facility.
"We need to do something soon," she said.
With just one year until the 2022 local government elections, she said the council needed to find a solution in its annual plan as to what to do with the velodrome.
"It is an absolute point of difference for Whanganui, yet we continue to completely ignore it, to the point of it becoming an eyesore and an embarrassment for this council."
Baker-Hogan said she was hopeful that a plan could be developed early next year
Councillor Helen Craig, who voted against the motion to roof the velodrome, would not speculate as to what should be done with the $2.5m funding set aside for the track.
"It would be fantastic to have a roofed velodrome of course but even if we could have raised the amount we needed there would be the ongoing loan repayments and annual maintenance costs."
Craig said the annual, ongoing costs would likely be from $400,000 to $600,000.
She said council had to make prudent use of rates money and there were many other projects that needed funding.
Cycling Whanganui president Ian Murphy said he wasn't too disappointed that nothing had been decided about the velodrome facility as it had allowed time for "cooler heads to prevail".
"Cycling Whanganui has advised the council that simply putting a new track down would be a pointless exercise as it would very quickly deteriorate again and we don't support doing that," he said.
"I truly believe that there is a desire to see this venue developed in the affirmative, but it must be demonstrated that wider use is real and the economics of it will stack up."
Murphy said he had been inspired by his experience of the ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill which he said provides a well-used community facility that provides a great model for Whanganui.
"Our view firmly remains that the city of Whanganui would be well served by this venue as both a point of difference to our neighbouring territorial authorities in attracting external people and spending in our city and as a venue for use by a number of community groups who do not have an alternative covered facility," Murphy said.
Other young people spoken to by the Chronicle gave their backing to roofing the velodrome.
"I would definitely be using the velodrome if it was open now," 17-year-old Whanganui champion triathlete Hunter Gibson said.
"I would like to see it covered and imagine I would be supporting it in the long term. I see myself living here after my studies and as a future ratepayer I'd be very happy to support it as a Whanganui asset."
Margy Hazlehurst 18, a winner in the recent Whanganui Secondary Schools Sports Awards picking up both the Morison Cup and the Williams Memorial Trophy, also supported roofing the venue.
"I enjoy cycling as well and I would like to see a covered multisport venue in Whanganui. I would certainly use it," Hazelhurst, who is a rower and hockey player, said.
"When we have competed at regattas at Lake Karapiro we visited the Cambridge Velodrome and I thought it was brilliant."
Hazelhurst said she thought there would be a lot of young sportspeople who would support the velodrome in the long term.
A council commissioned report completed by SGL last year advised that specialist track advice would be required to achieve long-term protection and maintenance of the velodrome if no roof covering was provided.