Set­back for moun­tain­bike hope­fuls

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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 fam­i­lyfriendly 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.

Downhill: Mana cy­clist Tom Booker rides down the Chim­ney Sweep moun­tain­bike track, an intermediate path be­low Colo­nial Knob.

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