Velo­drome sup­porter

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

In pol­i­tics there oc­ca­sion­ally is an is­sue which proves the old cliche: ‘‘You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t’’.

The Home of Cy­cling re­quest for $6 mil­lion from the re­gional com­mu­nity for the National Cy­cling Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence, in­clud­ing a velo­drome, is one such is­sue.

The velo­drome de­bate po­larised the Waikato with many pas­sion­ately for the pro­posal or equally pas­sion­ate against it.

I voted for the pro­posal. The Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil had done a strate­gic re­view and one of our flag­ship goals was to fa­cil­i­tate re­gional de­vel­op­ment. The Sport and Re­cre­ation time frame for a coun­cil de­ci­sion on con­tribut­ing to the project moved this pro­posal to the top of the list of projects we were con­sid­er­ing.

To my mind, this was a once in a life time op­por­tu­nity for the Waikato to se­cure an­other piece of sig­nif­i­cant sport­ing in­fra­struc­ture which other re­gions were chomp­ing at the bit to get.

With row­ing al­ready cen­tred here and with the new cen­tre com­ing, the Waikato re­gion is form­ing a hub of sport­ing ex­cel­lence.

Thank you to all the South Waikato peo­ple who made sub­mis­sions, ei­ther for or against. I lis­tened care­fully to what peo­ple had to say, in­clud­ing the two district coun­cils in my con­stituency. There were more sup­port sub­mis­sions from the South Waikato than against as was the tele­phone sur­vey.

Of the two district coun­cils, South Waikato sub­mit­ted against the pro­posal but Ro­torua’s mayor wrote to me re­quest­ing I sup­port the pro­posal and his coun­cil sup­ported the $3.18 per prop­erty per year rate. Ro­torua has a strong cy­cling cul­ture and cy­cling events, and un­der­stands the huge eco­nomic im­pact events such as the World Moun­tain Bik­ing cham­pi­onships bring to the re­gion. Now that the de­ci­sion has been made I will be keep­ing a close eye on the de­vel­op­ment of the fi­nal con­di­tions at­tached to the re­gional coun­cil’s fund­ing.

But I am also very keen to en­sure the cen­tre works as it should. Sport is an es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ent in the ‘‘glue’’ that holds our coun­try to­gether. The Rugby World Cup, for ex­am­ple, has boosted spir­its across the coun­try and en­cour­aged young peo­ple to em­u­late their sport­ing he­roes.

The cy­cling cen­tre and velo­drome can only strengthen sport in our re­gion.

Norm Barker

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