A soon-to-open $1.3 million BMX track at Waipa is the latest in a number of developments coming to life in the area.
The new, world-class track is being built on the corner of State Highway 5 and Waipa Mill Rd on reserve land leased to the BMX Rotorua club by Rotorua Lakes Council.
It won’t officially open until the new season in September but sponsors and supporters were treated to a sneak peek of the track, which has already been announced as the location of the New Zealand BMX Championships in 2021.
The track will be one of only two tracks in New Zealand at international competition standard.
Melanie Short, from the BMX Rotorua project committee, said the track would be used for an unofficial meet in early April then for a C1 meet in December.
“I go riding in the Redwoods so drive past regularly and I get absolutely thrilled to see the progress. This committee has worked hard since 2014, it’s been a long drawn out process.
“We’ve got riders from around the country watching this space.”
BMX Rotorua is also relocating its clubrooms to the site later this year.
At the sneak peek, Olympian Sarah Walker said the track would be for everyone.
“There’s this presence here. You walk out there and can feel it’s going to be something really special.”
Work at Waipa Valley also includes a commercial development by Red Stag Investments.
It includes a cafe, mountain bike hire facilities and a general tourism outlet.
Red Stag Investments managing director Jason Cordes said the building should be completed soon but they were still seeking tenants.
Red Stag Investments is also involved in the Secret Spot Hot Tub complex.
Brothers Keith and Eric Kolver are the brains behind Secret Spot and Eric Kolver said the Secret Spot was “a couple of months away from opening”.
“It’s all coming together, we’re doing the finishing touches.
“We think it’s [Waipa] going to be a mountain bike hub that will appeal to a lot of mountain bikers it would be nice if the precinct continues to develop.”
Red Stag is also looking into putting a $35m Cross Laminated Timber plant in Waipa.
Rotorua Lakes Council’s portion of the redevelopment at Waipa included new toilet and shower facilities, new and improved car parking and bike washing facilities.
Deputy mayor Dave Donaldson said the forest was “valued by locals and visitors alike”.
Donaldson said the new track would attract more people to the area.
“It will certainly put more pressure on the infrastructure … the parking at peak times is already fully patronised. I can see more pressure coming on.
“It’s why we have to push ahead with the forest Big Moves project so there are more options and more parking. That will take some pressure off Waipa.”
Mayor Steve Chadwick said Rotorua was well-established and world-renowned as a mountain biking destination.
“Red Stag and businesses located in the forest … have been able to add to that to create a fantastic space.”
The new BMX track was built using funds from sponsors including Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust, New Zealand Community Trust, Lotteries and more.
– New Zealand Herald