Waikato residents will get the chance to have their say on a $6 million capital funding request for a cycling centre of excellence near Cambridge.
Following considered debate, Waikato Regional Council today approved $61,500 to consult with the community from Thursday, 21 July to Monday, 22 August.
Hearings are scheduled for September, with an extraordinary council meeting to be held on Wednesday, 14 September to decide whether to fund the proposed centre.
The council will consider two draft ratepayer funding options at a workshop next week. Preliminary analysis assumes a 15-year repayment period, with ratepayers likely to pay an annual per property rate of between 75 cents and $7.62 (excluding GST), depending on the proximity of properties to the Home of Cycling centre.
In addition, a further $50,000 was approved for an independent consultant to undertake a more detailed assessment of the benefits of the proposal and the long term viability of the cycling centre and its economic forecasts. The research is expected to take about six weeks and will cover:
The council also resolved that any funding that might be provided after consultation would be a one-off $6 million contribution only and that this would only be released once Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) has approved its contribution.
Finally, the council resolved the Home of Cycling Trust would be required to provide evidence of support by way of underwriting or an alternative mechanism for dealing with any possible operational budget deficit.
Chairman Peter Buckley said the council would have preferred to follow usual process and consult the community through the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan.
“The SPARC deadline has not allowed this so we have to make a decision outside that timeframe, which the special consultative procedure allows us to do.
“I’ve heard from councillors who have put forward very clear views about this proposal, and I have heard from people who are either for it or against it, but now I would like to hear from the public about what they think of the Home of Cycling proposal.
“I echo the comments of councillors who said we must provide as much information as we can about this proposal – I urge the public to get involved, ask questions, and make a submission.”
In April, the 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. 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 Home of Cycling 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 14 September to allow the trust to confirm it has the funding in place to develop the centre.