From The Sideline with Ferg

From The Sideline with Ferg 548 543 The Flyer Magazine
Ferg Sports

From The Sideline


At the time of writing this column, one of the big issues making headlines – the potential closure of the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club’s Jump Park on Gorge Road, had just been happily resolved at the 11th hour. The land had been required by the Queenstown Lakes District Council to use as a lay down area for upcoming major construction. The council engaged with the club approximately three years ago to work together to find a suitable replacement site to be developed over time.

A new site was earmarked on Queenstown Hill with a stunning backdrop, with work being done over time to create the infrastructure required. The club, I feel, was hesitant, but agreeable, to the move. Enter the passionate creator and caretaker of the jump park, Nathan Greenwood, at the last minute. A big ups to him as he sparked the re-think. Also enter businessman and philanthropist Rod Drury, a committed bike enthusiast, to front a visit from councillors and to give his perspective on the world class jump park. Club members went to work and rallied support, put together a video to highlight the park and a petition has seen tens of thousands of signatures. I give Nathan huge credit for also coming armed with a solution to mix in with other options the council potentially could explore.

Seven councillors attended the meeting at the park and one Otago regional councillor, who lives locally. All had a chance to speak, some choosing to just listen. While the district council moved ahead with the club, it has become clearer to me that maybe the club and Nathan were on different paths, or so it seemed. Nathan making his move late in the puzzle and bringing the eminent closure to a pause. I cannot speak for other councillors, but at the park meeting you got the impression that saving the park would be the right thing to do. This brings into question the good faith that the council has engaged with the club in future club governance and any precedent that potentially could be on the table around council decisions. One councillor pointed out that in the current climate for sports clubs, the state of grounds and facilities, how many clubs will be watching what happens and getting ready to join the queue to get a hand out or leg up?

The right outcome has been achieved, but do not lay all the blame with the council.