Velodrome track reinstatement
- Project typeReplacement of existing wooden cycle track
- Project value$2.5 million
- Completion Date30 June 2023
Located in Cooks Gardens, the velodrome’s existing hardwood timber track (installed in 1995) is in a dilapidated state and at risk of failing, posing a health and safety risk to users. The track has been closed since February 2021.
German specialists Velotrack have been contracted to replace the track using Accoya modified long-life wood, created through a non-toxic cellular modification process known as acetylation 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 also be heightened for increased safety.
The under-track construction area of the velodrome has recently been cleared by the Whanganui Cycling Club in collaboration with Whanganui District Council, in anticipation of work starting.
BENEFITS AND OUTCOMES OF THIS PROJECT
Reinstate the cycle track to a safe and usable level for the benefit of the Whanganui Cycling Club along with local, regional and national elite cyclists, local community members, and future New Zealand Masters Games participants.
The old tropical hardwood track timbers will be made available to interested members of the public.
The council has worked with New Zealand wood supplier Hermpac to ensure the track’s replacement timber is New Zealand-sourced and represents value for money.
The velodrome facility, including the cycle track, is currently closed.
UPDATE – JUNE 2023
The Accoya modified long-life wood for the velodrome’s track reinstatement and a container of tools and equipment have arrived in Whanganui. Following visa processing delays, the Velotrak contracting crew arrived in Whanganui on 2 June 2023 and the velodrome will be a closed construction site from Saturday 3 June. The work is expected to take from four to eight weeks (allowing for potential wet weather when laying the track is too hazardous in steep areas).
As of end of day Wednesday 7 June, the old track had been removed with a work plan in place to begin the new track's installation.
Special thanks to the Whanganui Cycling Club for welcoming the Velotrack crew to Whanganui and giving access to their clubroom facilities during the work, and local suppliers for their generous support of this project.
UPDATE – JULY 2023
As of early July, 50 percent of the new velodrome track’s installation has been completed by the Velotrack team (see above). Work is progressing well thanks to Velotrack’s expertise and a relatively mild Whanganui winter to date – the Velotrack carpenters have not lost any working days due to adverse weather.
Over the past few weeks, all of the tropical hardwood timbers that made up the old track have also been removed from the velodrome site by members of the community. This used wood was made freely available to the general public, with several community-focused groups taking up the opportunity to recycle the timber into projects that benefit others.
UPDATE – AUGUST 2023
As of 10 August, installation of the velodrome’s new Accoya track is nearing total completion, with only track markings and the fitting of new balustrades and a protective barrier around the top of the track's circumference to be finished. A blessing ceremony for invited guests is scheduled for Monday, 4 September 2023.
UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2023
A blessing ceremony to mark the completion of the velodrome’s track reinstatement was held on Monday, 4 September. Among invited guests were Whanganui District Council kaumātua John Maihi (second from right), Whanganui Mayor Andrew Tripe (far left) and representatives of the Whanganui Cycling Club.
With various challenges including shipping and visa delays, this project has been completed under budget by approximately 10 percent and with only an eight-week overrun from the projected 30 June completion date. Whanganui Cycling Club’s cycling season is scheduled to begin in mid-to-late October 2023.
UPDATE – OCTOBER 2023
With construction work now complete, the Cooks Gardens velodrome’s new track was assessed by a UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale
) representative on Thursday, 5 October to certify the track as a category 3 venue for cycling. This certification will allow times set on the track to be formally acknowledged.
The assessment process involved measuring, checking safety aspects in relation to regulations, and test rides from nominated cyclists who helped determine the speed and standard of the track. UCI is the world governing body for sports cycling and oversees international competitive cycling events.
Velodrome Trafalgar Place, Whanganui 4500 View Map