A proposal to establish a commercial mountain bike park in Alexandra has been met with enthusiasm by Mountain Bikers of Alexandra group president Joe Sherriff.
The Sanders family, who farm in Little Valley Rd, in the high country above Alexandra, recently applied for resource consent to establish the park on their property.
Mr Sherriff, who has been riding on the property for 25 years was in favour of the move. The creation of an official park with signposts and a guide to the tracks, so use did not disrupt or interfere with the farm operation, was a sound move both recreationally and ecologically.
“I think it makes it absolutely clear where people can and can’t go, particularly visitors,” Mr Sherriff said.
In an application to the Central Otago District Council (CODC), the Sanders, of Matangi MTB Park Ltd and Matangi Station, proposed activities in which the public would be charged for access. These included mountain biking, hiking, walking, orienteering, quail shooting, possibly horse trekking in the future, competition events organised by the applicant and third party operators, film-making, army training and not-for-profit recreational events.
Matangi Station already had tracks, fences and stiles along with routes established by the mountain bike group and these attributes had resulted in growing public recreational use of the station, the application stated.
Out-of-town commercial operators were using the station without permission and dogs had been taken on to the station without consent.
Public had also damaged gates and fences.
Tracks had been damaged by unauthorised motorbike use and “the situation has grown to be somewhat out of control”.
The Sanders’ had exclusive possession of the property, which is on Crown pastoral lease land, and rights of trespass against the public.
While most mountain bikers would be happy without the park being formalised, that was not an option, Mr Sherriff said.
“The family has made it quite clear they are unlikely to keep up the maintenance and they would be keeping people out.”
The club had co-operated with the Sanders in helping maintain the tracks and avoiding areas during key times such as lambing, but a plan was needed, Mr Sherriff said.
In background information provided with the application to the CODC, the Sanders family said the project would require significant work and oversight on their part and needed to be undertaken on a commercial basis.
It was proposed that new tracks be constructed and existing ones improved. Signs would be installed, a car park built, toilets and drinking water provided.
The Sanders family requested the application be publicly notified under the Resources Management Act 1991. People had until Thursday, September 9 to make comment to Matangi MTB Park Ltd, 1054 Little Valley Road, Alexandra, or to the CODC.