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by Greta Yeoman

A bike skills park at Caroline Bay is pedalling its way to fruition after gaining support from the Timaru District Council.

The proposal by the Timaru Suburban Lions gained support at a council meeting last week, Suburban Lions president Bruce Fraser said.

The idea first came about following a challenge by Lions International during its centenary celebrations in 2017.

“It’s not only fun, [there is] an educational aspect to it.”

A national gathering of Lions clubs, held in Napier, inspired the idea – both in the challenge by Lions International to come up with a big project in their respective communities, and also that Napier had a similar bike skills park, Mr Fraser said.

The group thought a bike skills park would be a perfect project, particularly if it was situated at Caroline Bay.

“[It is] the jewel in our crown,” he said of the location.

Bruce Fraser

It would sit alongside the beach, the skatepark, the boardwalk, several swimming options and the rollerskating rink, as well as being another entertainment option over summer when the Caroline Bay Carnival was on.

“It just begs to be added to.”

Mr Fraser said putting a bike skills track among those options was a “no brainer”, so the approval by council for the plan and its location had left him feeling “really stoked”.

“[There was] huge buy-in from council,” he said of last week’s meeting.

It is expected to cost about $500,000 although Mr Fraser hoped a lot of that cost would be donated through the skills and input of the Timaru community.

He insisted that while Oamaru had a similar scheme in its town, the Timaru Lions were “not competing” with their southern counterpart.

The park would provide a safe space for young pedallers to learn how to ride their bikes, particularly before hitting the traffic-heavy roads around town.

“It’s not only fun, [there is] an educational aspect to it.

“[There is] no real opportunity for little kiddies to get out there and learn to use the roading network [at the moment].”

Mr Fraser also hoped it would be fun for the whole family – and even suggested grandparents could be encouraged out on electric bikes to ride with their grandchildren.

The skills park is expected to include a two-way road layout, stop and give-way signs, traffic lights and cul-de-sacs, Mr Fraser said.

“We are very excited about putting it together.”