SDC to con­sider fund­ing re­quest

The Southland Times - - FRONT PAGE - EVAN HARDING

The South­land District Coun­cil has been asked to dou­ble its fund­ing of Sta­dium South­land from $75,000 to $150,000 a year, with coun­cil­lors re­minded it is not just an In­ver­cargill fa­cil­ity.

‘‘It’s a South­land-wide fa­cil­ity, that’s why it’s called ILT Sta­dium South­land,’’ Sta­dium South­land trust trea­surer Neil Af­fleck told coun­cil­lors dur­ing his fund­ing pitch yes­ter­day.

The sta­dium trust needs to in­crease the money it re­ceives from com­mu­nity fun­ders and coun­cils from just un­der $1 mil­lon a year to $1.5m a year to se­cure its fu­ture for the next decade, Af­fleck said.

The cur­rent fund­ing of $955,000 a year was ‘‘to­tally con­sumed’’ in the day to day op­er­a­tions of the sta­dium, and the ex­tra $500,000 was needed to cover the likes of as­set re­place­ment, re­pairs, main­te­nance and loan re­pay­ments.

‘‘We are eat­ing into our re­serves now and we will last 18 to 24 months in our cur­rent sit­u­a­tion,’’ Af­fleck said.

‘‘We need money over and above the $955,000 to keep us go­ing.’’

Mayor Gary Tong said there was ‘‘one team miss­ing’’ from the list of sta­dium fun­ders.

Af­fleck said he be­lieved the Gore District Coun­cil had been ap­proached in the past but had not re­sponded, while con­ver­sa­tions had also been had with En­vi­ron­ment South­land, but came to noth­ing.

A re­port on the sta­dium op­er­a­tions had been con­ducted, with one rec­om­men­da­tion to re­duce wage costs, but that would mean re­duced open­ing hours, Af­fleck said.

‘‘Wage bills are the big­gest costs and Nigel [sta­dium gen­eral man­ager Nigel Skelt and his team have to min­imise that as best they can.’’

The sta­dium trust, in an­other bid to im­prove its fi­nan­cial po­si­tion, was in­creas­ing its fees for sta­dium user groups and of­fice rental space in­side the sta­dium, he said.

Cr Neil Pater­son said Dunedin charged a gold coin for ev­ery per­son who went through the doors of its sta­dium, and he asked why the South­land pub­lic was not asked for $1 to en­ter Sta­dium South­land.

With 12,000 peo­ple walk­ing into Sta­dium South­land ev­ery week, its fund­ing is­sues would be solved, he sug­gested.

Af­fleck said the $1 coin en­try had been tried when the orig­i­nal sta­dium opened but there had been a pub­lic back­lash be­cause com­mu­nity fund­ing had al­ready been pumped into it.

The trustees be­lieved a ben­e­fit of the sta­dium was that par­ents could walk in and watch their kids play sport, Af­fleck said.

‘‘It [$1 charge] has been con­sid­ered and at this stage it’s been de­cided not to pur­sue that.’’

The sta­dium trust has now asked all its main fun­ders for more money, with two al­ready in­di­cat­ing they would play ball.

Com­mu­nity Trust of South­land chair Margot His­hon said last week that its trustees have now com­mit­ted to in­creas­ing its grant from $160,000 a year to $250,000 for the next three years, the ILT is ex­pected to in­crease its grant from $400,000 to $550,000, while the In­ver­cargill City Coun­cil has been asked to in­crease its an­nual fund­ing from $400,000 to $700,000.

The coun­cil will make its de­ci­sion next win­ter, af­ter the is­sue has gone out for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion as part of its longterm plan.

South­land district coun­cil­lors did not give Af­fleck any in­di­ca­tion on when they would make their de­ci­sion.

BARRY HARCOURT 635154648

It’s a dog’s life for Onix and Jack, play­ing with sticks in Lake Te Anau on a warm af­ter­noon. The tem­per­a­ture reached 20 de­grees Cel­sius, but to­mor­row, with show­ers ex­pected, it is likely to drop to about 18C.

KAVINDA HERATH/STUFF

ILT Sta­dium South­land has asked the South­land District Coun­cil for more fund­ing.

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