Ongoing damage at Denton Oval frustrates

GEOFF LONGLEY
Last updated 05:00 12/12/2012
Terry McLeod
DEAN KOZANIC/FAIRFAX NZ

ON GUARD: Terry McLeod keeps an eye on the car park while young cyclists zip around Denton Oval.

Denton Oval
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ
VICTIMS: These citizens return to their car, which was subject to a smash and grab.

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Little relief is likely for the under-siege Canterbury track-cycling fraternity at Denton Oval in Hornby, beset by arsonists, taggers and petty thieves.

The Christchurch City Council said while it will endeavour to assist the beleagured organisation where possible, major alterations to the facility are unlikely.

The Press yesterday highlighted the plight of the Canterbury Track Cycling Association who this season have been fighting a constant battle against juvenile crime including car break-ins, arsons and tagging.

Cyclists' parents have turned vigilantes to keep cars secure by patrolling the perimeter during the twice-weekly meetings, communicating with walkie-talkies while their offspring compete.

The council's sports and recreation manager John Filsell said he sympathised with the track-cycling community.

"It must be disheartening for a sports group to have to put up with this senseless nonsense."

Track Cycling chairman Syd Martin claimed they had received no funding from the council to purchase three containers to store bikes after the grandstand and storage facilities were declared an earthquake risk last March.

However, Filsell said he believed there had been no official application for such funds. He suggested that they contact a local community discretionary fund as the mayor's earthquake fund was oversubscribed. Another option was Sport Canterbury through their connection with the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal Trust.

Filsell said the council had done some basic maintenance work at the stadium including fixing lights, switches and showers and tidying up the graffiti. "But no, we haven't done any major work. It has not been a priority."

Filsell said Denton Oval was a stadium, which in its heyday hosted the Commonwealth Games but is now past its use-by date.

He said Canterbury had been a leading contender for the new national cycling velodrome but the earthquakes had scuppered any chance of that being built at QEII Park.

"Denton Park is at the end of its life but at the moment there are many issues we are grappling with."

CTC is intending to stage a major meeting early in the new year and were concerned about attracting spectators who might face a risk of having their cars damaged.

Filsell gave an assurance that if such a meeting were staged, appropriate security support would be supplied by council.

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- The Press

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