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ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz

A neglected youth-based facility will soon get an overhaul if Alexandra’s junior youth council gets its way.

The group of youngsters have hatched a plan to revitalise the learn-to-ride section of Alexandra’s bike park which has fallen into a state of disrepair.

Fulton Hogan, which sponsors the facility, has supported the children while they work on turning their idea into a reality – and, ultimately, a destination where they, and their peers, can feel safe.

Alexandra Primary School pupil Hunter Stirling-Lindsay (12) is among those behind the project, which started as a lesson on how to pitch an idea and present it for consultation.

“What we’ve been doing is trying to work with Fulton Hogan to improve our learn-to-ride park,” he said.

The children distributed a survey throughout schools which asked their peers how often they used the park, what their favourite aspect was, what they thought should be done to improve it and how often they would use it if their requested improvements were made.

“It’s good to see they’ve got some drive and [are] trying to do something for the area.” – Fulton Hogan operations manager Jimmy Martin

Of the ideas suggested, 103 children supported the concept of getting existing traffic lights back in action, while 140 wanted a tunnel built on the track.

A further 98 children surveyed wanted a fake duck pond added to the track.

Fulton Hogan operations manager Jimmy Martin, who met the children to discuss their survey and ideas, was impressed by their determination.

“It’s amazing,” he said.

“It’s good to see they’ve got some drive and [are] trying to do something for the area.”

Top marks . . . Fulton Hogan operations manager Jimmy Martin (back, second right) has been working with junior youth council members to improve Alexandra’s learn to ride area. Among them are (clockwise, from front left) Portia Randall (12), Hunter Stirling-Lindsay (12), Korbyn Miller (12), Nicholas Murphy-McIntosh (12) and Steffi Moss (13). PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

He said it was the company’s desire to support youth throughout the district and taking time to improve the learn-to-ride area was one way it could do that.

Fulton Hogan helped build the bike park and looked after caretaking responsibilities.

Mr Martin said all the ideas put forward were not impossible, it was just a case of working out which was most viable.

Fulton Hogan was already focused on improving the bike park after it agreed to give gravel for a pump track.

Further improvements, suggested by the children, were likely to follow.

“I feel it needs to happen and Fulton Hogan are quite prepared to work with [the junior youth council], as I’ve been instructed,” Mr Martin said.

He said one aspect the company was keen to improve at the bike park was security.

“We need to get security lighting up and running. It’s there, but it’s not working. So, [to ensure] the longevity of the bike park, a lot of things need to be upgraded.”

Alexandra & Districts Youth Trust youth coach Deb Drake said there had also been suggestions of more shelter in the area.

To help fund the upgrade of the learn-to-ride area, the junior youth council will host a neon-themed disco on July 5.

The event, taking place at 6 Gregg St, Alexandra, will be open to children in years 1-4 from 6pm to 6.45pm and years 5-8 from 7pm to 8pm.

Entry is a gold coin.