Matakana track plan pumping along

Potential pump track – design idea for the Jubilee Park space from Empire of Dirt.
How it could look – a newly finished pump track, installed in Raglan by Empire of Dirt in 2017. Photo, Jane Alice @surfsh0t

Rodney Local Board members were brought up to speed on long-term proposals for a pump track in Matakana at their monthly meeting on September 20.

The Matakana Community Group (MCG) has been hoping to install a pump track at Diamond Jubilee Park since 2018 and board members heard last month that the project was finally approaching the detailed design and landowner approval stage.

The track – an asphalt area full of bumps and curves for bikes, scooters and skaters – would be on land in the north-western corner of the council-owned park, behind Matakana Tennis Club, and well away from Matakana Pony Club, which is also based there.

MCG member Katherine Norman said there was a huge lack of such recreational space for youth in the Matakana, Leigh and Warkworth areas.

“The closest pump tracks are in Orewa or Mangawhai, which is a fair distance for people to travel,” she said. “When I arrived in Matakana 18 years ago, the population was 420 people and it’s absolutely exploded since then. There’s a huge need for this, for locals and for visitors.”

Norman said pump tracks were not like a skate park, but a community facility for all ages and abilities, from two-year-olds on scooters to adults on bikes and boards.

She said MCG had engaged specialist track designers Empire of Dirt to come up with a detailed plan for the site and, as a planning consultant, she could look after resource consenting requirements.

“We’re seeking the board’s support and landowner approval to start the process,” Norman said. “We’re not looking for any funding, we’re going to completely fund the pump track from the community, just like we did the tennis court. Matakana is a very close-knit community where people really get in behind these free local recreation facilities.”

Auckland Council parks and places specialist Matt Woodside said the proposal had been “simmering away for a wee while” and he envisaged it coming back to a local board workshop in November to start the landowner approval process.

“The area is classified for informal recreation, it’s a flexible park space,” he said. “We’re happy to look at a pump track, it’s quite low key, it fits into the landscape, and fills an identified gap in our youth provision.”

Chair Brent Bailey thanked Norman for her presentation, adding: “You know we’re never going to say ‘No, no, don’t bring your own money to our problems and solve them for us’, don’t you?”