Sponsorship, but no membership
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.