Otago Daily Times

White­stone City re­quires in­vest­ment to re­main open

OA­MARU

- KAYLA HODGE kayla.hodge@odt.co.nz Travel · Volunteering · Society · Sinclair Lewis · Whitestone · Oamaru

WHITE­STONE City is on the brink of clo­sure for the sum­mer if an in­vestor can­not be found.

The Oa­maru tourist attraction was closed by Tourism Waitaki on March 20, due to fall­ing vis­i­tor num­bers, and re­opened on a vol­un­teer ba­sis by the Oa­maru White­stone Civic Trust on July 4.

How­ever, vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor Carolyn Lewis said it was not sus­tain­able long term to be run by vol­un­teers and it needed to be open in sum­mer to cater for visi­tors.

‘‘Every time we open we are learn­ing some­thing more be­cause this is a first, it’s al­most like a re­set af­ter Covid,’’ Ms Lewis said.

‘‘We need to be open for that eight weeks of the sum­mer pe­riod — it’s re­ally im­por­tant.’’

With­out an in­vestor, there was no vi­able op­tion for White­stone City to re­main open.

‘‘My stan­dard line is that vol­un­teers should be the ic­ing on the cake, not the cake. They are there to add value and add that ex­tra in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, but you do need the base staff for those vol­un­teers to add value.’’

There were 12 vol­un­teers at

White­stone City, which was open at the week­ends and school hol­i­days, but they were in­volved in other com­mu­nity groups and would need a break dur­ing sum­mer.

Ms Lewis, who was also a vol­un­teer, said vis­i­tor num­bers were strong: more than 4700 peo­ple vis­ited dur­ing the past two school hol­i­days and Alert Level 1 week­ends, and 400 peo­ple dur­ing last week­end’s Vic­to­rian Her­itage Cel­e­bra­tions.

‘‘It’s bril­liant, there’s so many Ki­wis trav­el­ling . . . we had a lot of lo­cals in the first school hol­i­days, with a lot of lo­cal cu­rios­ity.’’

White­stone City was at the heart of the Vic­to­rian precinct and feed­back from visi­tors in­di­cated peo­ple en­joyed it for the in­ter­ac­tive el­e­ments.

‘‘It’s gone from a tourist attraction to a com­mu­nity as­set. We are pro­vid­ing a her­itage precinct in the heart of Oa­maru.

‘‘It’s part of a huge pack­age for the com­mu­nity — a win for one, is a win for all.’’

The Oa­maru White­stone Civic Trust had been ab­so­lutely amaz­ing in sup­port­ing the the re­open­ing of White­stone City, she said.

 ?? PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE ?? Help wanted . . . White­stone City vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor Carolyn Lewis is call­ing out for some­body to in­vest in the tourist attraction to keep it go­ing this sum­mer.
PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE Help wanted . . . White­stone City vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor Carolyn Lewis is call­ing out for some­body to in­vest in the tourist attraction to keep it go­ing this sum­mer.

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