All go for tracks

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New tracks in Hawea could become a drawcard for a global community of mountain bikers.

Bike Wanaka president Tim David said the club had signed a lease for a patch of land at Noema Corner from the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Previously it had an informal agreement with the council to use the site, which had been part of an old saw mill, but having an official lease enabled the club to make progress with development, Mr David said.

“It puts us in a better position to ask for funding.”

Secretary Jo Goodwin said previous efforts in about 2013 to create a jump park at the site had not progressed partly because without a lease agreement it was more difficult to find funding.

“We couldn’t get funding because people said ‘well it is not your land so we are not going to give you money’,” she said.

With that hurdle removed, designs were now being drawn up for a family-friendly bike park that would be attractive for the growing local community, Mr David said.

“There will be a real junior type thing and there will be something for the youth to play on, and then the people who have got big skills will have some fun stuff as well.”

The mountain-bike club was also in discussion with Contact Energy and the council to further develop land by the beginning of the Hawea River track.

The club leased the south part of the land from the council, but discussions with Contact Energy to use land to the north, closer to the dam, would allow for more extensive tracks through a combined area that would run from the dam to near the irrigation ponds further along the Hawea River.

Contact Energy community relations and projects manager Neil Gillespie said they would try to accommodate that.

“It is looking like we can hopefully make something happen,” Mr Gillespie said.

Mr David said the tracks would be attractive to a global community of mountain bikers – “putting it on the map”.

All tracks were developed to an international standard that ensured they were good for riding, good for the sports, safe and easy to maintain, Mr David said.

Once plans for the tracks were developed, the tracks would be created by the local community.

“Everyone wants to build – there are no lazy mountain-bike builders.”

The co-operation they had received from Contact Energy and the council had been “so awesome”, Mr David said.

“They are great.”

A council spokesperson said they were working on a memorandum of understanding with Bike Wanaka that would allow for further conversations about tracks around Noema Tce and in the Hawea River area.

“We can’t comment too specifically while discussions are in progress.

“However, QLDC is always open to working with community groups to ensure positive outcomes for the Queenstown Lakes area.”