A BMX track proposed for Fairfield has been given the green light by the Saddle Hill Community Board.
Dunedin BMX Club president Simon Heptonstall said the club had tried to extend its track at Forrester Park but work was abandoned in May when asbestos was unearthed.
The club needed a new site for its track and wanted to build a 350m BMX track on the western side of Walton Park as soon as possible.
The new track would be better than its existing track and for the first time would allow the club to host a national competition over three days, attracting more than 1000 riders and their entourages.
If the track was approved, the club would build a new car park near it, which would be accessible from Old Brighton Rd, he said.
The new car park would reduce any increase in traffic flow along Edith St, he said.
The burms on the proposed track would be sealed resulting in riders being able to accelerate faster around corners.
”So you’d be able to go in fast and come out even faster.”
The burms at Forrester Park were made of clay and limestone, which ”gave way” if riders travelled across them too fast, he said.
Some club members were riding at a professional level and needed a bigger challenge than the one posed by the Forrester Park track.
”They want to be pushed.”
The club had no power supply at Forrester Park and used a ”noisy” generator to power club gear, including a starting gate and computer used to record scores.
He hoped to have a power supply at the Walton Park track and the club would investigate installing lighting to allow for night racing.
A renovated shipping container would be moved to a site near the finish-line at Walton Park for club members to use, he said.
The build would cost between $250,000 and $300,000 and the club was confident it could raise the funds by targeting trusts, he said.
He expected some noise pollution for neighbours only when a major event was held, he said.
If the project was approved, the track would be built this season, while the club continued racing at Forrester Park.
A hill at Walton Park would be used to create the 5m start ramp. The track could be built without bringing material to the site because everything necessary was already there.
The club hosted a national qualifying event every year, attracting about 200 riders and the club would host the South Island Titles every five years, and the nationals every 15 years.
The track was used by club members up to six days a week and the ”community asset” would be available for public use.
The club members would use the existing toilet block in Walton Park and bring in portable toilets for big events.
The ages of the 80 club members last season ranged between 2 and 53.
Heptonstall expected an increase in membership this season, with more than 100 members expected to ride for first club race of the season tomorrow.
The club started in 1979 and was the oldest BMX club in New Zealand.
Club co-coach Neil Burrow said Walton Park was the ”almost perfect” site to build a BMX track.
”It’s clay, so we don’t have to bring anything in, it’s close to the motorway, so there is easy access.”
Board member Keith McFadyen moved the board support the club’s proposal pending any consents and community consultation required by the council.
”I’m quite excited by it.”
The board wanted the community to provide feedback on the club’s proposal, he said.
Council parks, recreation and aquatics group manager Richard Saunders said, following the board’s endorsement, the council would continue to work with the club on the details of the proposal.
”There are a number of matters that we still need to work through with the club before things progress. It was an important first step for the club to receive a positive response from the board.”
By Shawn McAvinue