Date: Monday, 20 February 2012
Posted by: Cycling Southland

BikeNZ CEO Kieran Turner answers claims that Waikato's proposed Home of Cycling will kill off the Stadium Southland velodrome.

ILT Velodrome Wide Angle

The Cycling Centre of Excellence planned for Cambridge has been the subject of much public dialogue. My argument is that it will be good for the region as well as the country.

The Waikato-Bay of Plenty region combines great roads, access to fantastic mountainbike trails and good BMX tracks with a strong cycling community. This region boasts the largest number of cycling clubs in New Zealand and, for our athletes and staff alike, provides a quality and affordable lifestyle.

Cycling is growing so rapidly that New Zealand can easily sustain two, or even more, velodromes.

Cycling Southland has set the benchmark for running a successful velodrome, hosting and growing our national and international cycling events.

However, they are at capacity when it comes to the vast amount of volunteer hours needed. A second velodrome will ease their load, while enabling us to continue to grow the capability and capacity in another region.

The geographical location of Cambridge complements the Invercargill velodrome, creating cycling hubs in both islands.

The Stadium Southland velodrome will remain a vital part of the development of Kiwi cycling.

It will still host national and international events, training camps and continue to deliver fantastic community-based programmes to grow cycling.

We have enough events planned to keep both facilities busy without burning everyone out.

Without the Stadium Southland velodrome, there is no way New Zealand could be achieving its current international track cycling successes. If we can achieve that with one indoor track, imagine what we could do with two and the depth we can really build?

The notion that velodromes will become white elephants is based on comparing the facilities being developed in New Zealand with some very different buildings that have not got the programmes or communities that we have here. Velodromes cost a lot less to operate than swimming pools, yet we have a multitude of these public facilities across the country.

Velodromes are multipurpose venues that service a whole community – Cycling Southland has proved that.

From providing a venue for teaching children to ride to offering an easy and dynamic form of exercise for all, the velodrome – like its counterpart in Southland – will be a valuable community space. This facility, like the one in Southland, will be an aggregation point for a range of sports and support staff to create another cluster of innovation and excellence.

In the Waikato-Bay of Plenty region, we will bring together two of New Zealand's top Olympic sports – rowing and cycling.

This is a hugely exciting initiative that will help BikeNZ as an organisation to continue growing cycling at all levels.

It is something that will not only benefit the Waikato-Bay of Plenty region but provide the whole of New Zealand with opportunities that will more than use the current facilities we have, be they BMX tracks, mountainbike parks or velodromes.

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