Vis­i­tors must pay for Len Lye

Taranaki Daily News - - Front Page - HE­LEN HAR­VEY

From Au­gust next year it will cost vis­i­tors from out­side the New Ply­mouth dis­trict $15 to go to the Len Lye Cen­tre.

On Tues­day the New Ply­mouth Dis­trict Coun­cil (NPDC) dis­cussed a num­ber of op­tions, in­clud­ing only charg­ing vis­i­tors to the dis­trict $10 or $15, hav­ing a uni­ver­sal charge of $10, chil­dren un­der-16 get­ting in free or re­tain­ing the sta­tus quo of free en­try for ev­ery­one.

The de­bate cen­tred on whether to charge $15 for vis­i­tors to New Ply­mouth, but keep it free for res­i­dents and all un­der-16s, or to not charge at all.

A crowd of more than 40 peo­ple, who seemed to mostly be against charges, watched as the coun­cil­lors made their votes.

At 7.20pm the vote was split and the meet­ing took a break be­fore re­turn­ing for mayor Neil Holdom to ex­er­cise his cast­ing vote, which was in favour of charg­ing vis­i­tors.

Be­fore the meet­ing there were five dep­u­ta­tions on the sub­ject from the pub­lic, four of which were against charg­ing for en­try.

A lot of the dis­cus­sion cen­tred on how much money the dis­trict would lose if the cen­tre vis­i­tor num­bers dropped be­cause of the charge.

But Holdom said in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors to New Ply­mouth who specif­i­cally came to visit the cen­tre spent on av­er­age $642 dur­ing their stay in the city.

They are not likely to stop com­ing be­cause it will cost them an­other $15, he said.

The $15 will be split $5 to the Len Lye Foun­da­tion, $5 to off­set op­er­a­tional costs and $5 to im­prove the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence.

Coun­cil­lors who voted for the charge were Shaun Biesiek, Gor­don Brown, Mur­ray Chong, Richard Jor­dan, John Mcleod, Roy Weaver and Holdom. Those against were Harry Duyn­hoven, Colin John­ston, Mike Mer­rick, Alan Melody, Marie Pearce, Richard Han­d­ley and Stacey Hitch­cock. John Wil­liams was ab­sent.

The charge has long been called for by coun­cil­lors want­ing to rein in the cen­tre’s costs. An en­try fee would be a one-off cap­i­tal cost of about $70,000 to in­stall a ticket ma­chine and an on-go­ing op­er­at­ing cost of up to $50,000 a year.

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