BMX club scours city for new site

BMX club scours city for new site

The Dunedin BMX Club is searching the city for sites to develop a new track after some Fairfield residents rejected its first proposal.

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The club had proposed to develop a 350m track at Walton Park, after asbestos was found near its track at Forrester Park.

Club president Simon Heptonstall said before developing a track, the club must complete a ”feasibility study” for the Dunedin City Council.

The club was searching for suitable sites across Dunedin, with an aim of having a track built in Dunedin in four years and moving the club from Forrester Park, he said.

Mr Heptonstall had previously told the Taieri Times he had hoped to start developing a track at Walton Park this year.

However, the study had stalled the development and if Walton Park was included in the study, the residents would be consulted.

”The Fairfield and Walton Park residents have nothing to worry about.”

The search would include industrial areas and residential areas in Dunedin.

The club needed a hectare of land to build the track and car park. It could build a toilet block on the land and wanted access to a power supply.

”We need to make sure we get the right location, because we are spending a lot of money and time on the study, so we may as well do it right.”

Mr Heptonstall said he had not been invited to the residents’ meeting in Fairfield last week and the first he had heard about the opposition was in the Taieri Times last week.

He believed the residents opposed the track because of a lack of understanding about the sport.

”Have they ever been down to the club and had a look at what BMX racing is, the kind of people it attracts and how an event is run?”If Walton Park was selected as a possible site, the residents should attend a club meeting so they could make an ”informed choice” when consulted.

”I can understand residents’ concerns but I think they need to be a bit more educated and informed.”

Concern about noise with night racing was unfounded.

”We are governed by BMX NZ and we have to be finished racing at 7pm.”

Fairfield resident Ray Harris said he opposed the track being built at Walton Park, near his Edith St home, because the land was unstable.

”The big hump where they propose to have their starting gate, that’s all logs from when they took the forest down and there is dirt sitting on top of it. That’s highly unstable.”

A committee had been formed to act on behalf of Edith St residents to stop Walton Park being selected for the track.

”They can rest assured they’ll [the club] have a fight on their hands.”

When the council was considering the study, Mr Harris hoped the feedback from residents living near the land had more weight than that of other Fairfield residents.

There was concern the club’s initial proposal not to build a toilet block by the track would increase the chance of people urinating in public.

Mr Heptonstall said nobody from the club would be urinating in public.

”We wouldn’t allow it because that’s disgusting.”

Mr Harris said the residents were concerned the track would attract antisocial behaviour after club members left.

Mr Heptonstall said the club had been at Forrester Park since the 1980s and there had never been any trouble at the track.

Council parks, recreation and aquatics group manager Richard Saunders said when the study was complete, the council would give greater consideration to the views of residents living closer to the track.

If land stability was an issue at Walton Park, the study would reveal its suitability.

Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall said at the meeting in Edith St last week, there was an ”overwhelming response against” a track being developed at Walton Park.

”The most directly affected neighbours are united on this.”

The board wanted the track to be developed in its catchment and would work with the club to find a more suitable site.

”We are trying to get the best for everybody.”

via ODT 
Shawn McAvinue

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