Cera catalyst for Port Hills bike project
A multimillion-dollar Port Hills mountainbike park is expected to open late next year after a cash injection from the Government.
The Government yesterday pledged $2 million towards the Christchurch Adventure Park, one of six tourism projects to get backing through its "tourism growth" scheme.
The Canadian-based developers of the year-round bike park will put in $20.5m under the funding partnership announced at the Trenz 2014 tourism conference.
Select Evolution New Zealand secured a lease on 315 hectares of forested Port Hills land between Dyers Pass, Worsleys and the Summit roads, owned by McVicar Holdings, last year.
The park will have a 1.8 kilometre purpose-built lift rising 1427 vertical feet and 120km of bike trails along with a restaurant, retail areas and on-site accommodation.
It will also feature a rock climbing area, zip-lines and a 4km-long mountain coaster with a top speed of 80kmh.
Select Evolution New Zealand commercial director Jay Fry said the funding announcement was "a great result for the city and a great result for us".
"It is just such good news for Christchurch to have a project like this on their doorstep and to get the Government's endorsement is fabulous.
"I am really, really pleased that John Key and [the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment or MBIE] are so forward thinking," he said.
"It is certainly . . . a cornerstone . . . as far as the finance is concerned. It gives other investors confidence. We are just putting in for resource [and building] consent now."
Fry said he was "impressed" with the Christchurch City Council and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera), which was providing "general advice and direction".
"Having Cera in Christchurch has been a major catalyst for the project. If every city had an organisation like Cera then I think the economic environment of [that city] would be much stronger," he said.
The company said that an increasing number of international mountain bikers were demanding world-class facilities as a destination.
Fry said Christchurch Adventure Park would run year-round and would be set up to cater for World Cup-level athletes and beginner mountainbikers.
"We should be ready for a grand opening in December 2015. If we get the consents in place . . . we should get a spade in the ground before the end of October," he said.
The Government funding for the adventure park is by far the largest of the six projects announced in the first round.
Under the partnership the Government has made $32m available over four years.
A second round of funding is now open for applications.
MBIE said the park would provide millions of dollars of annual economic benefits to New Zealand.