12/11/2018 2:00:00 p.m.
12 November 2018
There were shrieks of delight from Tawhero and St Marcellin school students as a shared cycle track linking the two schools was officially opened last week.
Invited guests at the opening included Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall, Paul McArdle of Bike On New Zealand Charitable Trust, and benefactors Dora and Bruce Gollan. Whanganui District Council Active Transport Facillitator Norman Gruebsch and the Council’s Let’s Go team were also thanked, as well as Velo Ronny’s for their generous support with bikes. Funding for the track was courtesy of Bike On New Zealand Charitable Trust and the Gollans.
The combined track joining the schools – dubbed The Gollan Bicycle Track by Tawhero School principal Chris Dibben – is about 500m long. It skirts around buildings and playgrounds in both school’s grounds, and features a low embankment and small jumps along part of the track.
The purpose of the track is to increase the cycling abilities and confidence of younger riders, providing them with a safe and accessible place to hone their cycling skills. Tawhero School’s Chris Dibben and St Marcellin School principal Mia Williams also said that the facility was available to the wider community as a walking track.
Mayor McDouall told the gathered students from both schools that the track had been built because its supporters “care about you, and your cycling skills“ and asked the children to promise “to always wear a helmet when you’re riding.”
Tawhero School’s Chris Dibben expressed gratitude to the Gollans for their kind support, saying it was “not about the money but the aroha” and that they had helped to create a true community resource.
Paul McArdle, one of the principle sponsors of the new track and founder of Bike On New Zealand Charitable Trust, stressed to the students the importance of having fun while they cycled, and that the track offered them “the access and opportunity to ride safely.”
He also encouraged the children to get their teachers and principals on to a bike and riding alongside them.