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Mayor and deputy to race on new flying fox

Mayor and deputy to race on new flying fox
The new twin flying foxes in the Ashburton Domain will finally open on Thursday next week. PHOTO JONATHAN LEASK/LDR

Liz McMillan is confident she's going to get the better of Ashburton's mayor.

But before you start thinking there's some political intrigue afoot, never fear.

The deputy mayor is gearing up to take on mayor Neil Brown in a head-to-head flying fox battle.

McMillan laid down a challenge to Brown last summer to race on the new side-by-side 50m flying foxes in the Ashburton Domain, when they were finished.

The project has been plagued by delays all year, with the latest caused by a “miscalculation” by a contractor. But it is finally set to open next week.

In his report at the activity briefing on Wednesday, open spaces manager Ian Soper outlined that the installer had “miscalculated the distance between gantries”.

It meant the ramp had to be recontoured to be able to meet the certification criteria.

“This delay is extremely disappointing as it is another delay for a project plagued with delays.”

The flying fox only needs some finishing touches to be completed before it can finally be opened at 2pm on Thursday.

It is anticipated that at the opening, Brown will accept McMillan's challenge for a race.

“I’ve been preparing for this for a long time,” McMillan said.

“The challenge is on.”

Her confidence comes from having plenty of experience.

“When I was little my uncle built a flying fox at his house and we used to go on it all the time.”

She will be disappointed if she doesn’t win, but said it’s a bit of fun and just exciting that they will be ready to use.

The old flying fox was removed in 2020 and the replacement was scheduled to have been installed by the end of last summer.

A contractor shortage caused the initial delays.

Wet weather in July then forced further delays after heavy rain saturated the 20 tonnes of base material on top of the soil ramp that formed the runway.

The new flying fox has been installed on the eastern side of the walkway that runs from the central carpark to Walnut Avenue.

By Jonathan Leask