- Media release
22 Jun 2023
Southland will soon boast a brand-new way to bring communities together around an active lifestyle, with a mobile modular pump track currently on a freighter bound for Bluff.
The 64-metre-long track will allow communities to activate under-utilised green spaces and bring the community together around active recreation, when on skateboards, scooters, bicycles, or any other non-motorised wheeled transport, creating a temporary community hub in areas where such facilities may currently be in short supply.
It will also serve as a template for communities to evaluate the potential impact of a pump track in their community, and whether the creation of a permanent asset is something the community would wish to pursue to activate under-utilised green spaces.
The plan is for the track to be installed in five different communities over the first years of the project, remaining in a location for two to three months at a time before moving on to the next community.
The first location earmarked for the installation of the track is Argyle Park in Bluff, with the aim being to have the track installed during July, followed by an official launch on July 16. As the track is moved around communities in Southland, each launch will be accompanied by an activation event to introduce communities to the pump track and gather community experience. Stunt rider Levi Goodall will be among the drawcard attractions at the Bluff event, with a range of other activities also planned.
The track has the potential to provide significant benefit to the communities it visits, but because it is a not insubstantial investment, it was recognised it would take a collaborative approach to get the project under way. However, through a broad-based approach bringing together a number of different councils and funders, the project is funded by the Transport Choices package, which is part of the Waka Kotahi Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF) programme, with funding also coming from Community Trust South, Tū Manawa Active Aotearoa Sport NZ, ILT Foundation, Invercargill City Council (ICC) and Southland District Council (SDC).
ILT Chair Paddy O’Brien said that the project held a lot of promise for helping to promote active recreation within communities.
“We’re pleased to support this innovative community project. The track will ensure a quality piece of infrastructure is accessible for the wider community to experience and in turn, be a catalyst to improve community wellbeing. There's a lot of potential for how this initiative can benefit the community, and we're looking forward to seeing it pop up in different locations so people can enjoy it, particularly our tamariki and rangatahi,” he said.
In addition to providing active recreation opportunities in communities across Southland, the track will also help build the skill and competency of the active transport users of tomorrow, which is why the project received the support of Waka Kotahi, through their Transport Choices fund.
The project is being coordinated by Active Southland’s Healthy Families Invercargill Active Transport Innovator, funded by ICC and SDC, alongside the project working group, which features members from the cycling club community, ICC, SDC, GDC and community board members.
The track will be owned and maintained by Cycling Southland, with the Southland Mountain Bike Club, the Southland BMX Club, and the Southland Triathlon and Multisport Club all having committed to lending logistical support in setting up and moving the track around the communities, as active communities and active transport is at the heart of all these organisations. Freight Haulage Limited has also undertaken to transport the track to and from its locations as part of an in-kind donation.