SDC to consider funding request
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.
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.
ILT Stadium Southland has asked the Southland District Council for more funding.