Community Focus For Pukekohe Park

Exciting changes lay ahead

01/09/2016

Community engagement is set to be a key facet of Pukekohe Park's future development. 

Lance Bickford has taken on the newly created role of Pukekohe Park chief executive  and he said the park must once again become a focal point for community activity and events.

"Years ago this facility like many provincial racecourses in New Zealand was the hub of the community and I think we need to get back to that again."

Bickord is a hotelier by trade and use to run Hotel Du Vin in Mangatawhiri and also served as chief executive of Tourism Auckland. 

As part of the park's strategic planning process, the goal for the next two years is to increase membership from 400 to 2000 members across a number of different clubs.

"One of the things I'm introducing over the next two to three months is a series of new clubs on motorsport and also cycling to try and get a wider user base here."

Bickford said as our roads got busier, people were looking at other ways to get fit and train.

"Our plan here is to have a large cycling club based at the track after 5pm everyday, where we provide that environment for them to learn and train."

The park is currently undergoing construction on its indoor facilities, and Bickford said they would hire out the upgraded facilities for weddings and events.

There are plans for a new motorsport club circuit, along with continued driver training from beginners to advance level.

It was important the park served the growing Franklin region, Bickford said.

"Pukekohe is becoming quite central to the lives of those people, and in the meantime this park must play a role in being a centre to that wider community too."

He said Pukekohe Park represented a challenge because it's a business which had been a bit stopped in its tracks for the last couple of years.

However, the size of the grounds and central location meant it had tremendous potential, he said.

"As we look around today there's work going on now in trying to bring the place up to scratch and there's a big job to do but we're on it now and I think in two years time people won't recognise the place."

John Boynton - Franklin County News

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