News from John Morrison
Cycling will be another sport and recreational activity that Wellingtonians will hear a lot more about if John Morrison is elected Mayor.
Safe cycling access into the city from Wellington’s key suburban areas, a new BMX track at Ian Galloway Park and support for promoting and enhancing Wellington’s off-road trail network, was a pledge the mayoral candidate made to a group of cycling enthusiasts last week.
Ben Wilde from the Wellington Trails Alliance, Ashley Burgess owner of “Bike Wellington” and co-founder of Revolve Women’s Cycling Club, Dr John Randal, Chairperson of Makara Peak Supporters and long-time mountain trail bike volunteer along with Rebecca Maresca who is leading the formation of Capital BMX, met Morrison to put their case for a better deal for cyclists.
“It’s time for some real leadership on these opportunities, there has been plenty of talk but not enough action. Cyclists in Wellington are not being looked after and it is clearly the responsibility of the city council to act on the alarming accident statistics,” Morrison said.
“As Mayor of Wellington I will support these projects and invite these representatives to my leadership forum because the potential benefits to Wellington are huge.”
Wilde said Wellington was a unique capital city in being surrounded by the natural outdoors, which could be accessed and enjoyed within minutes of leaving the CBD. It was a big drawcard that could be used a lot more effectively to attract highly skilled migrants, especially those in the IT industry.
The cycling community is helping make that a reality with huge numbers of volunteers regularly working on the mountain bike trails and promoting the trails the city already has. Dr Randal estimated well over 2000 hours a year was being spent on Makara Peak alone and thousands more around the wider city.
Those efforts support the growing popularity of the sport in Wellington where the profile of the ‘average’ mountain biker is changing adds Burgess, pointing to an estimated 1500 female riders and growing demand for after school and holiday mountain bike programs for kids.
With BMX now an Olympic Sport and hugely popular among youngsters, Maresca said families are having to take their children to Upper Hutt or Wainuiomata for BMX competition. She added that she believed the sport would take off if a new high spec track was built at Ian Galloway Park. .
“Sadly those riders that reach national and international standards have to leave Wellington and go to Cambridge in Waikato, or overseas to further advance in their sport,” she said. Maresca also pointed out the economic potential of large BMX events such as National and International competitions which currently can’t be held in the Wellington Region.
Morrison told the group he was aware of the potential challenges for cyclists biking to work from the suburbs and as the Mayor he undertook to create much safer routes into town and look at ways to promote Wellington as the mountain bike capital of the South Pacific.
“Motorists have got to become more considerate and aware of the vulnerability of cyclists and the small numbers of cyclists who ride in a hazardous and dangerous way have to be made to realise they are acting irresponsibly”.
Morrison said he fully supported the push for world-class mountain biking facilities in Wellington City and the wider Wellington Region to promote Wellington’s liveability and healthy lifestyle, plus tourism potential for people wanting active lifestyle holidays.
“My family and I have a long association with the outdoors and we have enjoyed dual-use walking and cycling trails such as the Rimutaka Incline for many years. Let’s get on with making the most of the opportunity get even more Wellingtonians and visitors alike out there and being active. ”
August 19: Where are the cycleways?