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Shady days . . . Celebrating the installation of new shade sails at the all-weather track are (from left) Hugh Perry, Michael Boorer, Linley Welford (all from the Athletics South Canterbury All-Weather Track Trust), Dave Jack, (Trust Aoraki), Gordon Ireland (all-weather track trust chairman), Anne-Marie McRae (Trust Aoraki), Helen Mackle, Helen Page and Don Garland (all from the all-weather track trust). PHOTO: CLAIRE ALLISON

by Claire Allison

The Athletics South Canterbury All-Weather Track Trust is hoping to raise nearly a million dollars to replace the Aorangi Park track.

Trust chairman Gordon Ireland said the track was initially laid in 2004 and was approaching the end of its expected 15 to 17-year lifespan.

“The plan is to replace the existing track in January 2021. This will give us 18 months to raise the money needed, and January may give us the best chance to resurface the track, weather-wise. We want the minimum disruption to track users and athletic competitions.”

Mr Ireland said the track had hosted a variety of local, provincial, South Island and national events over the last 15 years.. The trust had considered two options – having the existing track overlaid, or adopting a different system, involving a complete renewal of the track with a resin-based coverage.

“The trust has decided to adopt the same system that has served us well over what will be 17-years’ use when resurfaced.”

The resurfacing project, quoted at $987,028 (including GST) is estimated to take five to six weeks, weather permitting.

Mr Ireland said the charitable trust had a history of well-managed income and expenditure since 2004, and was pleased to have already saved $200,000 in the track replacement fund.

The trust has estimated that the track has been used, on average, more than 27,000 times per year, with all users paying towards the ongoing upkeep of the facility.

The trust has carried out a range of improvements at the facility over recent years, including security, better public access and movement, bigger storage sheds, and, the most recent project, the installation of shade sails on the embankment. Trust Aoraki has track naming rights and has granted money towards improvements.