New guide­lines spell farewell to Taste event

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By JESS LEE and JOE DAWSON

Taste of Auck­land or­gan­is­ers are cook­ing up a new plan for this year’s fes­ti­val af­ter be­ing given the boot from Vic­to­ria Park.

The Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board voted five to two in favour of adopt­ing new event guide­lines for the in­ner-city park on Tues­day which would rule out the four-day event.

No more than three events will be per­mit­ted to use the sports fields each year un­der the new rules. They must not last longer than five days, in­clud­ing the setup and clean-up time.

Auck­land Tourism, Events and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment (ATEED) says Taste of Auck­land ben­e­fited the re­gion’s econ­omy to the tune of $550,000 and at­tracted more than 24,000 peo­ple. But there were calls for it to be shifted else­where ( Auck­land City Har­bour News, De­cem­ber 20) af­ter dam­age from the last event meant parts of the site had to be fenced off.

Greg Moyle and Rob Thomas were the lo­cal board mem­bers who op­posed the new guide­lines.

‘‘We were hop­ing to leave the door open to events like Taste. I un­der­stand the con­cerns of the sports clubs but the issue is bal­ance for all users,’’ Mr Moyle says.

‘‘We could have worked to­gether to min­imise the im­pact of host­ing events and had a positive out­come for ev­ery­one,’’ he says.

Taste of Auck­land di­rec­tor Robert Eliott told the Auck­land City Har­bour News that los­ing the venue would al­most cer­tainly spell the end of the fes­ti­val.

But he has a more positive out­look fol­low­ing a meeting with ATEED on Wed­nes­day.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously it’s dis­ap­point­ing and clearly not ideal but in say­ing that ATEED has been propos­ing all sorts of venues which is re­ally ex­cit­ing.’’

Mr Eliott will not re­veal which lo­ca­tions have been put on the ta­ble.

‘‘You’ll have to wait and see. The sup­port from ATEED is more than com­pen­sa­tion for the lack of fore­sight from the Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board,’’ he says.

Heart of the City chief ex­ec­u­tive Alex Swney says adopt­ing the pro­to­col is a step back­wards for the CBD.

‘‘There is a huge lever­ag­ing im­pact when events are cen­trally lo­cated. We know when an event like Taste oc­curs the eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity out­side the gates is much higher, when peo­ple go to the bars and shops.’’

He says he can un­der­stand the board want­ing to pro­tect the park but feels a ‘‘mid­dle ground’’ ap­proach - nei­ther ban­ning ev­ery­thing nor al­low­ing any­thing - is re­quired.

Grafton United Cricket Club chair­man Ni­cholas Albrecht says the guide­lines are a great re­sult.

‘‘I am all for events in Auck­land but they have to be fit-for­pur­pose,’’ he says.

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