Tourist levy ‘good start’

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

Tourism is af­fect­ing not only sew­er­age and wa­ter and rub­bish, it’s also af­fect­ing road­ing, and we also have trou­ble find­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion for work­ers.

‘‘I’m not sure whether there will be enough money from this levy. We might need to look for other op­tions.’’

South Can­ter­bury Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive Wendy Smith wel­comed the news.

‘‘We have lob­bied strongly for a tax to be im­ple­mented and the funds to be made avail­able to ar­eas like the Macken­zie Dis­trict for essential in­fra­struc­ture,’’ she said.

‘‘Com­mu­ni­ties with small ratepayer bases are un­able to fund and sup­port the huge growth that has been tak­ing place and the fore­cast growth that is likely to fol­low.

‘‘It is essential that a tax of some type is im­ple­mented, en­abling New Zealand to de­liver on a prom­ise to our vis­i­tors.

‘‘We have a global brand and a rep­u­ta­tion that must be main­tained,’’ Smith said.

Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Eu­ge­nie Sage said tourists would un­der­stand.

‘‘Many vis­i­tors come to New Zealand to ex­pe­ri­ence our unique and beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. I am sure they will be happy to help pro­tect our spe­cial places,’’ she said.

Christchurch NZ, which over­sees tourism pro­mo­tion for the Macken­zie Dis­trict, also wel­comed the an­nounce­ment.

‘‘Our smaller re­gional towns are beau­ti­ful tourist draw­cards but need the right in­fra­struc­ture for both res­i­dents and vis­i­tors,’’ gen­eral man­ager of des­ti­na­tion and at­trac­tion, Loren Hea­phy said.

‘‘There­fore, ap­ply­ing this rev­enue to in­fra­struc­ture within both the con­ser­va­tion estate and to sup­port in­fra­struc­ture in re­gional ar­eas will ben­e­fit vis­i­tors and lo­cals.’’

How­ever, she said its ap­pli­ca­tion might be com­plex and could be of lim­ited value, given the rel­a­tively small amount of rev­enue it will gen­er­ate. A Ti­maru play­cen­tre has pulled out its photo al­bums and scrap­books as par­ents look for the chil­dren who at­tended when it all be­gan.

Glen­iti Play­cen­tre will mark 50 years in Septem­ber with a fun day and wants for­mer chil­dren and teach­ers there to help cel­e­brate.

While the play­cen­tre’s ori­gins be­gan in 1967, it was de­cided to cel­e­brate the birth­day a year later as com­mit­tee mem­bers and fam­i­lies have been busy with a $20,000 build­ing pro­ject.

Ju­bilee spokes­woman Keely Kroen­ing said the cen­tre had a spe­cial as­so­ci­a­tion with many fam­i­lies, with many sec­ond and third gen­er­a­tions still at­tend­ing.

‘‘We have some dads that come along as well and grand­par­ents whose chil­dren have come here, now bring­ing their grand­chil­dren along while the par­ents work.’’

She said there were many fond mem­o­ries of the cen­tre, with her own daugh­ter, now 11, still en­joy­ing the oc­ca­sional visit.

Kroen­ing said while the cen­tre has sev­eral old photo al­bums and scrap­books from its early days, most of the pho­tos are not named or dated so they have no idea who many of the for­mer chil­dren are.

Glen­iti Play­cen­tre be­gan at St Stephen’s Church. In 1975 a pre­fab be­came the new play­cen­tre.

The ju­bilee on Septem­ber 24 will be an af­ter­noon tea and fam­ily fun day.

JOHN BISSET/STUFF

Glen­iti Play­cen­tre’s Briar Olds, 4, looks through old al­bums ahead of the cen­tre’s 50th an­niver­sary with or­gan­iser Keely Kroen­ing.

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