Waikato Regional Council will carry out further investigations before deciding to consult with the public over whether to put up $6 million to build a world-class velodrome near Cambridge.
The decision was made following extensive debate during an extraordinary council meeting held late this afternoon before a packed public gallery.
In making its decision, the council considered the due diligence review by Deloitte, which examined the accuracy of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Home of Cycling Trust’s economic impact assessment report, the proposed capital and operational budgets and other issues including facility ownership and depreciation.
The council also discussed the findings of a staff report assessing the benefits, alignment and rationale for funding.
A number of concerns were raised in both reports, as well as in presentations to the meeting, including:
Regional council chairman Peter Buckley said, “It has been a terribly tight timeframe for us, with all the information we’ve had to digest in the past 24 hours in particular.
“We’ve been put in a difficult situation by the government funding agency’s tight timeframes,” he said.
“I would have liked to see the proposal go to the public through the Long Term Plan consultation process, but I need to have more information before spending additional unbudgeted funds on public consultation at this time,” Cr Buckley said.
Following careful consideration, councillors resolved they needed further information before a proposal could be put to the public, particularly around costs.
Staff will now provide a report to the council during its next meeting on Wednesday, 29 June which will outline what further work is required for a more detailed assessment of the Home of Cycling Trust’s proposal, and the time it will take to do the additional work. The council will also contact SPARC to discuss seeking an extension to allow consultation to be completed.
In April, the Waikato Bay of Plenty Home of Cycling Trust made a presentation to council, highlighting the benefits the proposed $28.5 million national cycling centre of excellence would deliver to the region, including projected economic benefits of $11 million a year.
The trust was seeking the entire $11 million local government share from the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regional councils and Waipa District Council. Time pressures meant the trust could not seek council support through the usual annual or long term planning processes. However, Waipa District Council has since conditionally allocated $1 million.
The Government is putting $7 million into the cycling centre project, with $11 million sought from local government, and the balance from trusts and naming rights.
Since winning the preferred tender bid, the Waikato Bay of Plenty Trust has been on a fast track to secure funding and finalise commercial tenancies, design and build agreements and other governance and operational details.
SPARC extended the deadline until early September to allow the trust to confirm it has the funding in place to develop the centre.
SPARC has stated it has the option to negotiate with other shortlisted bids, Auckland or Palmerston North, if Waikato Bay of Plenty cannot complete these technical and financial conditions. The timeframe has been set so building is completed by March 2013 in preparation for the 2016 Olympic programme.