Why are we doing this?
Waipa Valley is the southern gateway into Rotorua and the main entry point to Red Stag Timber(operating Waipa mill). The area has developed over time into an important recreational access point into Whakarewarewa Forest, particularly for mountain biking. Developments to further enhance the recreational offerings from the mountain bike carpark, and to better manage use of Waipa State Mill Road for both forestry vehicles and recreational users has been progressed by Rotorua Lakes Council, Red Stag Investments and Red Stag Timber. In response to community requests for investment in the popular recreation area, Council committed to a 10-year revitalisation plan. The plan allowed for funding of $1.08 million to be spent on the area during a 10-year period from 2016.
What’s already been done?
Carpark: The carpark adjacent to the toilet block received a full upgrade in 2016, including new kerbing, sealing and a bike wash station.
Toilet and Shower facility: In 2014 a toilet and shower facility was built. The innovative design includes a mountain bike track over the top of the twin toilet and shower blocks featuring 12 unisex toilets, four showers, changing space and provision for disabled users. The artwork panels at the entrances were designed by Kereama Taepa and depict dragonflies, lizards, bike chains and gear spokes
Bridge: Rotorua Lakes Council’s BMX track bridge provides vehicle and bike access to the new BMX facility being built.
Construction of a separate heavy traffic road: A heavy traffic bypass road has been constructed to the south of Waipa State Mill Road. This project is a Rotorua Lakes Council partnership with Red Stag Investments and Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust to improve public safety by moving logging trucks off the section of Waipa Mill Road that has high recreational traffic use.
Development of additional car parking: Once heavy traffic was moved off Waipa State Mill Road, to provide safer access for recreational users, the road verges have been developed to provide more car parking spaces for recreational users of Waipa Valley. The one way traffic design incorporates safe crossing points, along with landscaping features consistent with the main carpark.
What’s still to come?
BMX Facility: This is a Rotorua BMX Club project with support from Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust, New Zealand Community Trust and Council, as well as a growing list of sponsors coming on board. World class track in an unbeatable location At the entrance to the Waipa Valley development, the BMX facility is in an outstanding location. The world class track will add to the activities available in this mountain biking hub. The design features both a UCI Elite Supercross track with 8m start ramp (only one other in NZ) and a Challenge Track with 5m start ramp. The vision for the facility is to grow BMX membership and participation, to be a high performance training hub, and to host major events contributing to the sport and the Rotorua community and economy.
Red Stag Investments Commercial Development: Red Stag Investments, who own the open space surrounding the Waipa carpark, have embarked on the development of two commercial facilities in the area.
Commercial Complex: A commercial complex on the west side of the carpark with spaces available for a bike hire outlet, café, bar and other commercial and light tourism offerings will be added to complement the recreational attractions currently available within the forest. The current provider Mountain Bike Rotorua will be moving into this new space.
Hot Tub Development: A hot tub development to the east of the carpark, nestled beside the stream with a view into the forest. This development is being undertaken by Secret Spot Ltd, owned by local brothers Keith and Eric Kolver who hope to open to the public early in 2018. The bathing and spa experience close to the forest will complement and support the other mountain biking activities and tourism developments.
In response to community requests for investment in the popular recreation area, Council has committed to a 10-year revitalisation plan. The plan allows for funding of $1.08 million to be spent on the area during a 10-year period from 2016.