Spon­sor­ship, but no mem­ber­ship

Townsville Bulletin - - Talk Of North - By LINDA SOUTER

THURINGOWA City Coun­cil say their spon­sor­ship of Townsville En­ter­prise of more than $100,000 a year should at least en­ti­tle them to have their sparkling new River­way fa­cil­ity mar­keted as a con­ven­tion des­ti­na­tion.

But on top of the spon­sor­ship amount the coun­cil needs to pay an ad­di­tional $5500 an­nu­ally if they want River­way on Townsville En­ter­prise’s Con­ven­tion Bureau books.

The coun­cil’s Com­mer­cial and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee was told that due to the struc­ture of Townsville En­ter­prise, the coun­cil was un­able to have mem­ber­ship as part of their ma­jor spon­sor­ship con­tri­bu­tion.

Coun­cil eco­nomic and de­vel­op­ment project of­fi­cer Damian Di Santo told the meet­ing that due to the re­cent com­ple­tion of the River­way com­plex there was an op­por­tu­nity to join the con­ven­tion bureau to max­imise the use of the fa­cil­ity for con­fer­ences, meet­ings and events.

He told the com­mit­tee that the con­ven­tion bureau would keep River­way on their data­base of fa­cil­i­ties to pro­mote to busi­nesses look­ing for venue op­tions.

Al­though the com­mit­tee could see the mer­its of hav­ing mem­ber­ship with the bureau, they were not keen to part with any ad­di­tional funds.

Mayor Les Tyrell said the coun­cil’s to­tal con­tri­bu­tion to Townsville En­ter­prise was about $160,000 a year.

To get around pay­ing the ad­di­tional amount, the com­mit­tee passed a rec­om­men­da­tion to re­duce their an­nual spon­sor­ship con­tri­bu­tion by $5500, al­low­ing the money to be re-di­rected to the Con­ven­tion Bureau for mem­ber­ship.

‘‘We are al­ways look­ing for the best re­turn for ratepay­ers’ money,’’ he said.

Cr Tryell made no apolo­gies for the rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul tac­tic.

‘‘We think that it is only fair that mem­ber­ship of the bureau should come from our over­all to­tal spon­sor­ship con­tri­bu­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘We have only got a small con­ven­tion cen­tre at River­way but we would like to pro­mote it.’’

Cr Tyrell said the num­ber of large con­ven­tions and con­fer­ences River­way was likely to at­tract through bureau’s mem­ber­ship would be small at this stage.

‘‘The main rea­son is we don’t have suf­fi­cient ac­com­mo­da­tion close by,’’ Cr Tyrell said.

But this was likely to change in the near fu­ture with con­struc­tion of Thuringowa’s first al­lac­com­mo­da­tion ho­tel, due to start con­struc­tion in 2007, he said.

The ho­tel would be sit­u­ated ad­ja­cent to Sun­land Plaza and di­rectly op­po­site River­way.

Cr Tyrell said once the ho­tel was com­pleted, River­way would be more com­pet­i­tive in the con­ven­tion and con­fer­ence mar­ket­place.

‘‘A lot of peo­ple who at­tend con­fer­ences like to stay close by and this (ho­tel) would ob­vi­ously add t o t h e a t t r a c t i o n o f River­way as a con­fer­ence cen­tre,’’ he said.

A Townsville En­ter­prise spokesman said the role of the bureau was to at­tract con­fer­ences and events to the twin cities.

‘‘What you are buy­ing are mar­ket­ing pack­ages,’’ he said.

All con­ven­tion fa­cil­i­ties in the twin cities were re­quired to pay the con­tri­bu­tion if they wished to be­come mem­bers of the con­ven­tion bureau, the spokesman said.

He said Townsville City Coun­cil fa­cil­i­ties such as the Civic Theatre and the Perc Tucker Gallery were re­quired to pay the mem­ber­ship fee.

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