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R120m sport centre for PMB 'a done deal'

Category General News

If all goes to plan Pietermaritzburg could have its own multi-million rand high performance sports facility.

The sports centre will be based at the Pietermaritzburg Airport and it will be part of the proposed technology hub to be built there.

The proposal includes a velodrome with an indoor cycling track that will hopefully attract Europe’s best cyclists during that continent’s winter months.

The initiative is apparently spearheaded by the Union Cycleste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body for sports cycling, which oversees international competitive cycling events, based in Aigle, Switzerland.

Co-ordinator of the Bike City Project Alec Lenferna said this proposal was still in the planning and discussion phase. He said there was a possibility of it being a multi-use sport centre with table tennis, gymnastics, Judo and many others.

If the plan bears fruit, it will benefit other professions such as dieticians, physiotherapist and anti-doping agency officers.

Clive Coetzee, the manager for Infrastructure and Economic Services at the provincial treasury, was more bold.

“It’s a done deal, it’s a question of time on when this will be built,” he said.

On Tuesday, Coetzee told delegates during the Msunduzi investor conference that plans of building a technology hub at the airport were moving apace.

He said they had received about R120 million donor funding from the European Union to prepare the land on each of the technology hubs sites.

The velodrome was among the exciting ideas for Pietermaritzburg with the prospects of not just attracting international visitors to the city, but also creating other sports-related industries.

Over the past few years Pietermaritzburg has hosted a number of local and international cycling events.

Coetzee said once it’s built, the UCI plans to move their African offices there as there will also be an office complex next to the velodrome.

“The moment this is built, the offices will be occupied, and money will be coming in. It will not sit there for two or three months without being occupied.

“These facilities will be used by South African and European cyclists who will come here to train during the winter periods in Europe.”

Author: Thamsanqa Magubane

Submitted 18 Oct 16 / Views 3195