Setback for mountainbike hopefuls

Colonial Knob moutainbike route delayed

KRIS DANDO
Last updated 16:00 13/05/2014
Colonial Knob mountainbike
SUPPLIED

DOWNHILL: Mana Cycle Group member Tom Booker rides down the Chimney Sweep mountainbike track, a path just below Colonial Knob.

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Mountainbikers in Porirua may have to wait a bit longer for a completed track below Colonial Knob.

Porirua City Council's draft annual plan makes no provision for a track that has been proposed by Mana Cycle Group.

The group's president, Rob MacIntyre, presented a plan to councillors in February, asking for a partnership to get materials, tools and volunteer parties to dig it out.

Much of the clearing work, and some planting, has already been done by the cycle group.

MacIntyre said the group wanted a $40,000 investment from the council - down from the $120,000 to $200,000 they asked for in February - to develop a 7 kilometre trail around Colonial Knob in the coming year.

As part of a submission to the draft annual plan, he said 25 per cent of the $173,000 project to upgrade Bothamley Park could be diverted the group's way.

No mention of the mountainbike park in the draft plan was disappointing, MacIntyre said, but not surprising.

"The council is wanting to keep rates down and we understand that. But we think our project stacks up in terms of the return for the community," he said.

"We're not going to stand still on this."

MacIntyre pointed to tracks in Wainuiomata, Makara, Brooklyn and Kapiti and the health and tourism benefits they had.

The Colonial Knob track would be close to the central business district and the railway station, he said.

His group envisioned family- friendly tracks, not just for dedicated bikers.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said he was keen to read Mana Cycle Group's submission and he and that councillors were open to adjusting budgets if the reasoning was compelling.

"I know the council has been working with them behind the scenes and they are doing some magic work on their own around Colonial Knob," Leggett said.

"I feel cycling and mountainbiking have a low profile from the council's perspective and the Mana group can heighten that profile."

If Mana Cycle Group gets the green light from the council, it would give it leverage when applying for grants, MacIntyre said. More than $100,000 was needed for two years' work, and $50,000 to $100,000 to establish an entry next to Camp Elsdon in Raiha St.

MacIntyre said he would be talking to the submission at the annual plan hearings next week.

He would like a mountainbike track for Colonial Knob to be part of a wider discussion on cycling opportunities in Porirua.

BY THE NUMBERS

- $40,000: How much Mana Cycle Group wants in the next 12 months from Porirua City Council.

- 7km: Length of mountainbike track planned for Colonial Knob.

- 1500: Volunteer hours in track development and planting around Colonial Knob by the group so far.

- 290: Erosion control trees planted by Mana Cycle Group around Colonial Knob in 2013.

- 100,000: Visits a year to Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park. 24,000: Estimated mountainbikers in the Wellington region.

- 49%: Cycling numbers increase in this region since 2006 census.

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