Bike tracks wiped out by flood

Damaged track on the Allenton loop, below, flood waters on the track.

Mountain Bike Ashburton has been left reeling after recent flooding wiped out most of the tracks on its Allenton river trail loop circuit.

While the clean up continues around the district, the volunteer group faces the prospect of repairing and cleaning up 11 kilometres of track washed out, or covered in silt after the one-in-100 year rain event.

Just one kilometre of the loop track has been left unaffected after the major rain event.

Bike club members have toiled long and hard over the years to cut and maintain tracks and recently completed a new section that took four months of hard labour.

The skills park, where a lot of work has also been completed and hundreds of plants put in, escaped major flood damage.

Mountain Bike Ashburton president James Reid said the survival of the skills park area was a big relief, but the bigger picture did not look good.

He said the munted tracks were a “kick in the guts” from Mother Nature and a blow for club volunteers and the many people who used the bike tracks.

“We’ve worked really hard to create and maintain the tracks and now some parts may never open again.”

An estimated 90 per cent of the Allenton track had been under water.

“There was a ridiculous amount of water when I went for a walk to take a look,” Mr Reid said.

He said months of hard work cutting a new section of track from Mt Ash to the skills park had been wiped out in a matter of hours.

There was a major rebuild ahead and a lot of silt shovelling needed at future working bees.

“We will get some sections open and up and running relatively quickly, but sections that need major work will just have to wait.”

He said the club had limited funds and relied on grant applications, volunteer labour and “mates rates” to get work done.

“I don’t think we’ll be riding full loops of the track again in 12 months time, which is just such a shame.”

A Givealittle page had been set to raise funds for the track rebuild and can be found by searching under mtbashburton.

There is no set goal, but the club estimates it will likely cost more than $50,000 to bring tracks back up to scratch.

The popular loop track runs from Melrose Road in Allenton to the Ashburton River bridge.

Other bike and walk tracks to Lake Hood and the Hakatere river mouth have also been heavily damaged by the flooding.

Debris and silt have been washed in from the river and some track sections have sunk.

-By Mick Jensen