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Another Christchurch Sporting Venue Set For Destruction

Another Christchurch Sporting Venue Set For Destruction

The earthquakes in Christchurch have taken a significant toll on many of its landmark buildings, but it’s not just Mother Nature that can wreak havoc...

The Velodrome at Denton Park in Hornby has been there for nearly 30 years, but it ain’t gonna last much longer without some much-needed TLC.

It would seem there just isn’t enough to do for the Hornby youth as they continuously target the Velodrome and its facilities. In the past two weeks alone there have been three fires set, the fence has been hacked with wire cutters, and the grandstand and club house have been covered in graffiti.

The Denton Park Velodrome is a Christchurch City Council-owned facility used by Canterbury Track Cycling (CTC). Committee Chairman Syd Martin is beside himself, desperate for some help from the Christchurch City Council to sort out the escalating problems.

“I came to open up for Wednesday racing two weeks ago and the little buggers had set fire to a tree on the fence line requiring an onsite visit from the fire department” said Syd “and then blow me down if I don’t get a call last Friday night to say that they’ve been at it again, this time setting the ticket booth alight and attempting to do the same to the grandstand.”

But it’s not just the fires and the graffiti, there have been so many cars broken into and stolen during club racing that a dedicated group of parents and committee members have formed their own security team. They patrol the fence line and car park and communicate suspicious activity via walkie talkies – this is a case of big boy cops and robbers.

“We can have up to a hundred kids and adults racing at club days on Wednesdays and Sundays, so the carpark is chocka. If it weren’t for our team of parents in their hi-vis vests, I’m not sure what we’d do!”

However the issues don’t stop there, in March of this year the grandstand and the storage facilities underneath it were red-stickered by the Council, leaving CTC nowhere to store the 60 bikes that it owns and loans out to development riders. “We’ve worked really hard to purchase and maintain a supply of good quality track bikes to help kids start in the sport, but with the storage sheds under the grandstand off-limits we were left scratching our heads about how we could manage.”

Three 20ft containers have been placed on the side of the track by Smith’s Crane and Construction who have generously offered extended payment terms whilst the club applies for funding. “So far we’ve been turned down by the Council for any funding, even though this jeopardises the viability of the sport in Christchurch.”

“If we could get some funding for the containers and get our hands on a surveillance system it could make a huge difference – we might even be able to catch the rat-bags responsible.”

But this is a low-budget sport (producing some of NZ’s best track cyclists) and every penny spent on maintaining the Council property is money taken away from helping Christchurch’s youth participate in the sport.

With 3 Olympian and many National champion riders coming to compete in the new year carnival much work is required to get the facilities in decent order to show the rest of the country that despite the obvious difficulties in Canterbury, Track Cycling is doing its very best to forge ahead.


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