8. Events and Concessions

8.1 Events and private concessions provide opportunities for forms of mountain biking participation which are not directly provided by public agencies, for people who might not otherwise participate. For example, each year The Big Coast introduces hundreds of people of all ages to mountain biking in a safe and managed way.

8.2 Events and concessions can have particular costs and impacts which are different to the general costs and impacts arising from informal recreation. Environmental impacts can be amplified due to the intensity of use, and administration costs are often incurred by the land agency. There may also be a social impact caused by the displacement of, or disturbance to, casual users of the event location at the time of the event.

8.3 Benefits to the land agency can come in the form of positive publicity, and greater awareness of parks. These benefits generally accrue only from well established, successful events. The establishment of a successful event or concession can be difficult and costly to the event or concession owner. A partnership approach between the land agency and the event owner is more likely to lead to the establishment of a successful and sustainable event.

8.4 Wellington Regional Council has prepared a Concessions Policy and the Department of Conservation has a similar though more comprehensive national policy. These documents will guide their administration of event and concession applications and existing permits. Current issues which need to be kept in mind in the administration of these policies include the issue of charges and the issue of safety.

8.5 Event and concession managers generally agree with the principle of charging so long as it is consistently and fairly applied. A charge per participant and a one-off administration charge is normally levied, though the sums can vary considerably from agency to agency and from event to event. Though the issues which charging decisions are based on can be complex, land managers need to be clear and consistent about the basis for the charges. Organisations which claim to be non-profit, and seek relief from charges, should be able to substantiate this and demonstrate a public benefit.

8.6 Through the changes brought in by the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, public safety in parks is now a key management issue which has implications for event and concession management. An approved safety plan should be a prerequisite of all concession and event licences.

8.7 Many events and concessions fail within the first year of operation. Of the many factors which might lead these businesses to fail, poor planning is thought to be one of the main ones. A business plan should be a prerequisite for substantial events. A well planned event or concession is not only likely to be more successful, but should have fewer impacts.

Goal

Events and concessions are well managed, provide significant benefits to riders and the Region, and have impacts which are within acceptable limits.

Actions

Encourage the development of successful events and commercial operations which are sustainable and provide direct benefits to the Region (General).

Encourage the development and promotion of Wellington's image as the mountain biking capital of New Zealand and the attraction of domestic and international tourists seeking mountain biking experience (WRC).

Review the basis for Regional Council involvement in, and provision for, existing mountain bike events, subject to relevant policies and plans of the Recreation Department (WRC).