Final cost of events centre $9 million

PIERS FULLER
Last updated 11:12 05/09/2012

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Few would argue that the new Carterton Events Centre has given a lift to the town and is being well-used, but is it worth the $9 million pricetag?

The events centre was a project years in the making and the estimated cost continued to rise throughout its development.

Now that the dust has settled and most of the bills have come in, the total cost is $8,862196, far exceeding the initial $6 million planned.

The project attracted strong opposition from the Carterton Residents and Ratepayers Association and also councillor Bill Knowles, questioning its affordability.

Nearly 12 months on from completion Mr Knowles, says it hurts him to admit it, but he now believes the sparkling centre is worth every cent.

"Now that it's there I feel that it's a fantastic thing for the community because we have to accept that it's not going to be many years away that we're going to finish up with one council in Wairarapa and had we not built that events centre when it was done, Carterton would have never seen it," Mr Knowles says.

The bills for the centre have not yet finished rolling in. A new sound system is in the pipeline and there is said to be a need for more lighting in the auditorium.

"You've got to be prepared to spend enough money to make sure that it is right," Mr Knowles says.

The events centre was paid for from several sources. Among these is a specially established trust which raised around $1.5 million; $2.5 million from council reserves; money from the sale of assets such as a forestry block at Kaipatangata, and several million borrowed on a 20-year loan.

In 2010 a contract was let to Holmes Construction to build the facility for $6.3 million which came in on time and on budget. As of last month the total cost of the project amounted to $7,939,261 for planning and building and $924,935 for furniture and fittings.

Carterton Mayor Ron Mark says people need to remember that the facility is not just an auditorium.

It is also Plunket, the district library, toy library, council meeting rooms, conference centre, Scout den, information centre, a community hub and more. "All of these things make the centre what it is. My only regret is that it's not bigger, because we clearly have people coming wanting to use the centre - Don McGlashan is a good example," he says.

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