Napier City Council pulls pin on velodrome proposal, says it may consider it at a later date
Napier's proposed velodrome and multi-use sports facility has been pulled.
The $22.9 million facility, first announced by Napier City Council in early 2015, was to have been a regional indoor multi-use sport and recreation facility incorporating a velodrome.
A business case on the proposal was completed in February, and was supposed to have been discussed by councillors in March.
The item was withdrawn from the agenda less than 24 hours before it was due to take place because councillors had requested more information after they became aware that Sport NZ did not support the proposal.
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The proposal has not been back before council.
On Tuesday council chief executive Wayne Jack informed councillors the project would "parked" and funding for it would be set aside and made available for other projects.
The decision followed a workshop with Sport NZ executives in June.
"With the lack of support from Sport NZ we feel that it is now prudent to 'park' our strong business case, while they work through with national and regional organisations on the development of their strategies and ways in which they believe that the national outcomes are best met. We are committed to working together with the best interests of our communities in mind," Jack said.
"When the time is right we would go through the consultation process again if the demand and commitment was shown. The drivers that underpin the business case will still be as valid in a few years' time as they are now, and the cost/benefit analysis will remain robust, so a decision can be sought at a later date," he said.
He said the redevelopment of an Aquatic Centre would soon be progressed through the Long Term Plan, and this had attracted a lot of positive public attention and focus.
A paper on the sports facility and the views of various sporting bodies would be presented to council later this month. It would recommend that the business case was not updated further but was "left on the table for ongoing Council and Sport NZ consideration as community recreational projects are prioritised and sequenced in the future", and that the funding be re-allocated.
Sport New Zealand's general manager of community sport Geoff Barry said his organisation advised the council that while it agreed with the broad business case objectives, "from a participation perspective, we didn't see the value proposition of the velodrome component of a multi-use sports facility".
"Cycling may well have, and may continue to have some economic value, but that's a different conversation to identifying participation challenges and whether the velodrome would satisfy that," Barry said.
He said a multi-use sports facility would be highly valued by the people of Napier, as would a swimming facility, "we identified those as primary needs in contrast to the expenditure on the velodrome".
"What we see in velodrome construction is that it doesn't materially change participation in cycling. What it sometimes does is enable another opportunity for someone who already cycles to cycle in a different environment. Velodromes inherently don't increase participation in cycling," Barry said.