New bike tracks proposed for Karori
May 16, 2019
A local biking club has sent a proposal to the Wellington City Council to build five new mountain biking tracks in a reserve above Karori.
The Wellington Mountain Biking Club has proposed five new tracks in the Johnston Hill Scenic Reserve, which sits at the southern end of the ridgeline linking Otari-Wilton’s Bush and Kilmister Tops.
Proposal leader Tom Adams said that the Johnston Hill area met “several important criteria” for development.
Adams said t new bike-only tracks would mean that cyclists and walkers no longer had to share pathways.
He also said the area is made up of pine forest which had a “much lower ecological value” than native bush, meaning there would be “negligible” environmental damage to the reserve.
No site is “perfect”.However, Adams said the reserve was a “strong contender” as the proposed new tracks would further Karori and Wellington’s reputation as a ‘biking hub’.
“This area is well connected to the biking hub of Karori, so provides many options for extended loops that would connect with Skyline, Makara Peak, Wrights Hill and Karori Park.”
“WCC would like to improve Wellington’s recognition as a high quality biking destination, and this is one of the ways to achieve this.”
Adams said the tracks would also have a positive impact on the local economy.
“Wellington’s economy will be boosted by visiting domestic and international biking tourists, but also by attracting more talent to stay and live in our city.”
If approved the tracks would also be built at little to no cost to the council, with the biking club providing the labour and footing most of the bill.
“The cost to the council will only be what costs they incur through inspection, paperwork and signage. If [the council] are willing to pay a few hundred for the odd retaining board that would be great, but is not required.”
Adams said a thriving mountain biking community brings a lot of benefits which go beyond economics.
“There is a strong social scene which gives young people motivation to be involved in a club, provides social cohesion and connects disparate demographics through a shared interest.”
“Getting people outdoors and connecting with nature improves our understanding of how to live sustainably and to respect and enjoy our environment.”
Johnston Hill was named after John Johnston, who settled in Wellington in 1843 and was officially opened as public recreation area in 1942.
Johnston Hill and the nearby Otari-Wilton’s Bush represent the most significant native ecosystem in the Outer Green Belt, which runs along the hilltops west of the city from Tawa to the south coast.