Treasured school bike track under threat

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 05:05 14/11/2012
Daniel Tobin

Kendal School has built a large bike track where pupils can gain confidence riding on one of the 50 supplied school bikes.

Kendal School bike track
Daniel Tobin
ALL AGES: Learners and experienced juniors are all encouraged to have a go.
Rosey Acker
Daniel Tobin
IN CHARGE: Rosey Acker helps with cycle lessons, bike repairs, and bruised knees.

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Schools Shake-up

Name Kendal School
Suburb Burnside
Decile 6
Type Primary
Roll 89
Cost $3.3 million
Principal Keith Turner
Proposal Close

A recently-opened cycle track may be lost to the community if Kendal School is closed.

No other school in the South Island has a cycleway like it. The 600 metre track around the perimeter of the school was officially unveiled on March 31, along with about 50 bikes for the children to use, and helmets.

It includes obstacles such as bumps, bridges and seesaws.

However, the track will be lost if the primary school is closed under the Education Ministry's shake-up of Canterbury schools.

The ministry has estimated the school needs $3.3 million in repairs and strengthening work and said the high remediation costs coupled with a low roll meant the school should close.

School principal Keith Turner came up for the idea for the cycleway to give children in the community, not just the school, a safe place to learn to ride their bike.

Learn to ride instructor Rosey Acker told The Press that Turner, a passionate cyclist, felt "what better thing to have at this school than a bike track".

"They got together, they raised all the money for the school bought the bikes, built the facilities and the container to store the bikes and hey presto we have this wonderful track for the kids to use at lunch time and of course on the weekend," she said.

Acker said some children had come "such a long way" with their riding since using the track, which spreads around the entire school.

She had also taught many to ride a bike using the track and the facilities.

The project cost about $50,000. National grid operator Transpower Community Care Trust donated about $30,000 towards the project, and the Burnside school fundraised the rest.

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