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Future cloudy . . .  Timaru Football Club vice-president Ryan Hanifin (left) and president Aaron Donaldson say the Caledonian Ground has been great for the club and it wants to stay. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

The Caledonian Ground has been home to the Timaru Football Club for just over 50 years and members want to stay there for another 50.

The ground has also been home to track cycling for more than 120 years but Cycling South Canterbury is keeping its options open.

Both sports organisations have been forced to consider their futures at the ground as erosion cuts into the nearby coastline.

“The club is worried about what is happening but we want to stay here. We love it here,” Timaru Football Club president Aaron Donaldson said.

The club has four senior teams and seven junior teams.

“It’s been our home for 50 years and we’d dearly like to be there for another 50. There’s a lot of history for the club here and we’re concerned for all the other clubs as well, the pistol club, deerstalkers and cycling.

“The hardest part has been there’s no solution yet but whatever the solution is, it needs to be taken in consideration as to the cost.”

Mr Donaldson said the erosion was still more than 40m away.

“We have a few more years and are not going to panic. We’ll stay on and hope it [the erosion] will be fixed.”

Cycling South Canterbury president Darren Cuthbertson said he agreed with the Timaru District Council’s decision to hold off resurfacing the cycling track until a review was completed regarding the degree of erosion risk.

“If the track lasts only a couple of years it wouldn’t be worth the ratepayers’ money. We’ll suck it up and race on the old crunchy track,” Mr Cuthbertson said.

Cycling South Canterbury had been considering finding another venue.

“We’re definitely thinking about it as a club. You can get a 250m concrete banked track like they have in Dunedin for $3million to $4million.

“I’ve had a brief chat with [council parks and recreation manager] Bill Steans and it’s possible some land might be available at Sir Basil Arthur Park.”

Cycling South Canterbury received a $50,000 grant from Trust Aoraki to assist with resurfacing the track.

The club was in the process of returning the money to the trust until a final decision was made on resurfacing the Caledonian track, Mr Cuthbertson said.

Cycling Otago has a 250m velodrome at Seddon Park in Mosgiel, which was established in 2000.