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Council votes to fund national cycling centre of excellence

Waikato Regional Council has today voted 6-3 in favour of a $6 million funding request to help build a national cycling centre of excellence, including a velodrome, near Cambridge.

Council chairman Peter Buckley said it had been a difficult decision, but one which had been made by councillors who had a complete picture of the proposal.

The council had considered:

  • the individual and collective submissions of the community
  • an independent telephone survey
  • economic impact assessments
  • financial projections
  • capital costs
  • ownership and governance issues
  • the critical success factors of velodromes internationally.

“We have read volumes of information and an unprecedented number of public submissions,” Cr Buckley said.

“We have heard from those in favour of the proposal, who point out that it is supported by the Government through $7 million funding and provides a unique opportunity that will benefit the Waikato region.

“Those opposed to the proposal have told us that it is unaffordable in the current economic climate and they believe it is a facility for elite athletes and not really for the community,” he said.

“In making our decision to support the velodrome we are confirming our intent to partner with central Government, local government, business and the community on initiatives that will help to make the Waikato successful.

“This is consistent with our vision for the Waikato – competing globally, caring locally. We want to support positive local action in social economic, environmental and cultural areas that contribute to regional growth and development, and in turn contribute to New Zealand’s competitiveness.”

Cr Buckley said the national cycling centre of excellence would create a hub that brings new investment to the region, celebrates achievement, encourages participation in physical activity and provides opportunities for young people.

The council has approved the funding by way of an internal loan from the investment fund to be repaid over 20 years by a flat region-wide rate. This means ratepayers will pay an estimated $3.18 per annum.

The funding is being provided subject to a number of conditions first being met.

Councillors Lois Livingston and Russ Rimmington withdrew from the velodrome vote at the start of the meeting following legal advice they were putting the council at risk of a legal challenge if they took part.

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