The cost of Porirua’s bumper summer
A bumper set of top-shelf events has left Porirua City Council with an expensive hangover.
An ambitious summer entertainment schedule - which included Symphony in the Park featuring Sol3 Mio at Porirua Park - stretched some council staff beyond sustainable levels and will likely plunge the events budget $33,000 into the red.
While ticket sales and corporate sponsorship covered much of the $227,000 symphony’s production, the council still forked out twice what it had initially budgeted for the event - $80,000 all up.
The cost overrun was due to a number of factors including the need for more toilets and a better sound system.
But the council’s manager of city growth and strategic property, Darryn Grant, is clear: next year won’t be a quiet one.
‘‘We were able to deliver [Symphony in the Park] with the support of a number of teams from across council, however this may not always be possible.
‘‘For future events, we’ll be able to more accurately budget now that we have a benchmark for this level of event.
‘‘We are still planning on a strong programme of events for next year and are in the process of seeking applications for our Major Events Investment Fund,’’ Grant said.
This year, the council also created a Waitangi Day event enjoyed by 30,000 people to replace the Festival of the Elements, which finished after volunteers were no longer able to manage its popularity.
The costs were revealed in a 2017/2018 summer events debriefing report prepared by Grant for the council’s Grants, Awards and Events SubCommittee.
Symphony in the Park, which drew about 7000 fans to hear the Samoan singing superstars in March, was the first big concert to grace Porirua Park where visitors might normally cheer for the Northern United Rugby Football Club from Jerry Collins Stadium.
Grant said the unique nature of the event lead to unforeseen costs.
‘‘The popularity of the event meant we had to hire additional toilets and temporary lighting in some areas for health and safety reasons.
‘‘We also had to upgrade the sound system to extend its reach so everyone received a quality sound.’’
Deputy mayor Izzy Ford, chairwoman of the council’s subcommittee, said Porirua had never staged an event of that magnitude before.
‘‘The events team and staff from across council pulled together to bring an amazing night of performance to our city, one that not only showcased Porirua Park as an international venue to the region, but also our very own born and bred local talent.
‘‘Overall, they kept costs down by running the event inhouse rather than contracting out like most cities do, and our staff took a lot of learnings from this summer, that they will use to inform the next summers programme, and hopefully the weather gods will smile down on us again.
‘‘The feedback from the community and wider region was that it was really a magical evening.’’
The ground at Porirua Park, as well as Jerry Collins Stadium, was packed for Sol3 Mio.