The young folk of Devonport will be thrilled with the news that work on the Pump Bike Track at Woodall Park, Narrowneck, in Devonport has begun. This is a project that has involved collaboration between Devonport Rotary, the local BMX group and the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board.
The project has been very much a community driven one with Devonport Rotary leading the way. Long-time Rotarian Bob McGuigan, who has been one of the key figures on the project (along with fellow Rotarians Colin Cannon and Phil LeGros), explained the background when we caught up on site at Woodall Park during October.
“Some two years ago Devonport Rotary realised, after speaking with local youngsters who had constructed an informal BMX/ Pump bike track at Woodall Park, that they needed help to make the track more usable for all bikers. Since then we have worked with Tim White and Haimona Ngata from the local BMX club to make it happen. They had been beating their heads against a brick wall for years trying to get a track in the area but just needed a bit of local help with the formalities.”
"With the help and support of Auckland Council and the Devonport Takapuna Local Board – members Aidan Bennett, Toni Van Tonder and Trish Deans in particular – we are thrilled that construction of stage one will start very soon. Auckland Council and Devonport-Takapuna Local Board have funded all the preliminary research and planning, preparation of design drawings and consenting. A very big thanks to them. It's now up to the community to build the track!”
An information day on a Sunday in late June attracted numerous people who regularly use Woodall Park. The support for the track was unanimous and gave Rotary confidence that it could be built with community input – both from the financial perspective and assistance with the actual construction. Covid and a bit of red tape have slowed things down a little but Rotary and friends are making excellent progress on getting started on the construction of the Pump Track/BMX track by late October.
"We should see three old willows removed, a security fence in place, plus metal and foundation materials delivered to site by the end of October,” adds Bob McGuigan. “We are very grateful that a grant has been approved by our local Devonport Takapuna Local Board to enable us to purchase a foundation drainage blanket and cellular bedding structure. This is a great boost to our community project.”
Devonport Rotary has also had a terrific response from local contractors and suppliers to requests for assistance.
Neighbouring Rotary Club of North Harbour has been very supportive and its President Bruce Morrison, a land surveyor, has provided survey pins on the footpath to make setting out accurate and easy.
The Vauxhall Squash Club and Waitemata Golf Club have been enthusiastic about the project and feel that it fits in with the sports hub being developed and already being well used by all ages in the area.
Devonport Rotary Club President Ian Cunliffe is excited by the number of businesses who have put their hands up to help the community project.
"Takapuna-based builders Haydn and Rollett have generously agreed to donate the hireage of mandatory temporary construction fencing and safety signage around the work site. This is a great help for the project and meets the requirements of the Resource Consent conditions. MSC Consulting have done pro-bono site overland silt protection plans which we will be implementing before work proceeds. Our huge thanks also go to Gill and Gundry who will be trucking in metal from a big local project, then bringing in clay fill to form and shape the track. Walter Gill’s son Warren (brother of Jacko) is an expert shaper and he will be looking after the details on site. With generous support from Devonport Timber, the start jump structure will be constructed as one of the first parts of the track. This is a robust timber structure but something we can build ourselves with community help. Benefitz are helping with site signage and the permanent donation board on completion.”
Three big old willows will be removed early to make way for the track and then replaced with new trees. Rotary has had a good response with favourable pricing for this work.
The aim is to build a short section of the track early so eager bikers can get some use out of the first part while the remainder of the track is being completed. The construction fencing can be rearranged on site to allow this to happen.
Ian Cunliffe says that Devonport Rotary will be appealing soon for volunteers to help at good old-fashioned working bees to lay down the drainage and foundation blankets, build the small drainage abutments and the timber starting jump. He says there seem to be plenty of willing supporters out there for this work and they are very encouraged by that. A schedule of working dates will be publicised.
"To enable us to make sure we finish stage one this summer, financial help will be needed from the community, in addition to the funds set aside by Rotary. A Givealittle page is being set up. We know the interested families will be generous so that we can get our youth into the park and away from their digital devices.”
As usual Rotary has the fundraising programme very well organised. They will also be putting up a generous Christmas hamper which will be given away to one of the lucky participants in the Givealittle campaign. The aim is to raise a further $15,000 to complete stage one. A $100 donation will build one metre of track. Every $50 donation will count towards a lucky draw for the hamper, with donors to the cause receiving a numbered ticket to be in for the hamper draw for each $50 donated. A family donation of $300 will buy a 'Pump Hump' and be acknowledged with the other business donors on the permanent site information board.
If you can help with supply of materials, building expertise or any other aspects, please call Devonport Rotary members Bob McGuigan on 0274 741 075; Phil LeGros on 021 527 737; or Colin Cannon on 021 296 0407. They are very keen to convey a big thanks to all who have been so much in support of the project to date.