Competitive mountain bikers, such as those from Dargaville High School’s team, will have a new place to practice their skills ahead of the 2020 Northland Secondary Schools Mountain Bike Champs

Recreational funding granted

by Andy Bryenton

Three large outdoor and recreation projects have been given a cash injection from the Kaipara District Council’s Reserve Contribution Fund.

A mountain bike track for Dargaville’s Harding Park, a pump track for Mangawhai’s Molesworth Drive and extended boardwalks for Paparoa will all receive grants.

The Reserve Contribution Fund was adopted by the council in May 2019. Under legislation, 80% of the reserve contributions must be spent locally, in the area where it was paid. It is to ensure that developments, which boost population numbers, keep pace with green space and recreational opportunities. In this round of grants, Kaipara Cycling Incorporated received $20,000, the Mangawhai Activity Zone Charitable Trust $170,000 and the Paparoa Lions Club $45,000.

“The committee focussed on ensuring applications would be accessible to a wide range of users,” said Awards and Grants Committee chair, Peter Whethey.

Sadie Cogan of Kaipara Cycling Incorporated said the funding would be used to develop local trails. It would benefit both recreational riders looking for exercise and social opportunities, as well as competitive riders in need of a top-class facility to hone their skills. In this second field, school-age athletes are big winners.

“It will be vital for our local Kaipara schools to have a park to train on, as Otamatea and Dargaville intermediate and high schools all have mountain bike squads. The Northland Secondary Schools Mountain Bike Champs will be held at Waitangi Mountain Bike Park as well as the NZ Secondary School Champs. So it is vital, our riders have somewhere to practice. ”

The Mangawhai Activity Zone will be expanded with a pump track, another cycling initiative that has proven very impressively popular elsewhere. The pump track concept appeal to BMX riders and those looking for a physical challenge. It will add to the many attractions already featured at the MAZ, including gym machines, a children’s playground and sporting facilities.

Paparoa’s boardwalks represent recreating at a more leisurely pace, expanding the ability for locals and visitors alike to get up close to nature and enjoy the scenery.

The unallocated sum remaining has been rolled into the next round of funding, set to open in June.