Athletics track would be a 'fine investment' for Exeter Arena
CITY leaders are considering borrowing £750,000 to renew the athletics track at Exeter Arena.
The current track, which is about 15-years-old and has outlived the eight-to-10 years it would have been expected to last.
The city council is concerned that if it is not replaced aspiring athletes will travel elsewhere.
But the proposed expenditure has been criticised by some councillors.
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A spokesman for the city council said a new track will secure a home venue for Exeter Harriers and other clubs for many years to come and will help to develop young athletes from Exeter.
Replacing the track was revealed in the city council's capital programme for the coming financial year.
Mark Parkinson, pictured, the city's strategic director, told the committee that the inner track had been replaced on a number of occasions but now the entire track would have to be looked at.
Pinhoe councillor Moira Macdonald backed the work. She said: "This is the only track this far into the South West that has these facilities.
"It has an Olympic-standard timing camera so we can attract big events here. I think this is a fine investment."
But Alphington councillor Rod Ruffle said he was unconvinced that the whole track needed replacing, and questioned why more patching could not be undertaken.
A spokesman for the city council said: "From an economic perspective, the track hosts about 100 events per annum bringing many athletes and spectators into Exeter from around the country during the season between April and September.
"Many events are over the weekends and they stay locally, bringing trade to hotels, guest houses and restaurants.
"The track is also a focal facility, not just for athletics clubs but other organisations within the city such as the university and the Exeter Chiefs. Both use the facility for training purposes."
The current track is only designed to cater for about 45 events per year.
The spokesman added: "The track has been re-sprayed several times over the last few years to prolong its life span and is now at the stage where additional re-spraying is no longer a viable option.
"The replacement track will be non-porous and will provide a longer lifespan of 25 years and not be limited to the number of events per year.
"Only the Arena's limited spectator facilities prevent it being an international venue."