Velodrome track to be replaced in coming months

Published on February 22, 2023

A pallet of treated wood in a factory

Work on Whanganui’s new velodrome cycle track, part of the multi-purpose Cooks Gardens stadium and sporting facility, will begin in April 2023.

Specialist contractors Velotrack, based in Germany, will replace the track using a wood called ‘Accoya’, which goes through an acetylation process to give it a longer lifespan than ordinary wood. The Accoya wood will be supplied by New Zealand company Hermpac. The balustrade surrounding the velodrome will be heightened for increased safety.

Councillor Philippa Baker Hogan says, “Re-tracking the Velodrome complements Cooks Gardens’ athletic track and adds to the variety of sporting facilities in Whanganui, as well as in the wider region.”

The existing 25-year-old track has deteriorated due to exposure and was closed in February 2021. The replacement is budgeted for $2.5M and the time frame for the work is up to three months.

Replacing it was selected as one of three options: the other options being roofing the velodrome or decommissioning it.

Cr Baker-Hogan says “This option, knowing that the wood has a 50-year warranty, allows for both current cyclists and the next generation to benefit from the track. Already we know it is likely to be used by our neighbours, such as cyclists in Palmerston North.

“We are also anticipating the velodrome will be used for the 2025 Masters Games, which is very exciting.”

“The way the new track will be installed is specialised in order to meet the 15-degree angle of the basin,” says Cr Baker-Hogan.

“I am sure there will be people interested in the work. We will keep the community posted as the track replacement progresses.”

Ron Cheatley, Whanganui Cycling Club Patron says “I am delighted that we have at least reached this point. Whanganui has a strong and successful cycling history, so to have the velodrome operational again is great.”

There may also be an opportunity for the community to purchase parts of the existing track during the replacement process. More information will be available in the coming months.

The council is working with Whanganui Cycling Club and cycling community both locally and regionally to see what their needs are around using the venue when it reopens.