Stadium pulling big crowds

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 13:01 30/11/2012
Volleyball
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Top venue: Marlorough Lines Stadium has had a good year hosting events such as the South Island Secondary Schools Junior Volley ball championships this week

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Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000 doubled its foot traffic and tripled its turnover during the past year, despite disruptions caused by the $16.5 million refurbishment of the aquatic centre within the sporting complex.

Marlborough Stadium Trust chairman Luke van Velthooven told councillors at the Marlborough District Council's assets and services committee meeting yesterday that the stadium in Kinross St, Blenheim, had recorded a trading surplus of $110,920 from a total turnover of $2,333,912.

This was an "exceptional result" considering the significant disruption and start-up costs involved in the refurbishment of the aquatic centre, which opened in April, Mr van Velthooven said.

The positive feedback from users and huge increase in patronage gave committee members confidence about the aquatic centre's redevelopment, he said.

About 10,000 customers were using the centre each week; the target was to get about half a million each year.

"When you walk into a place, you want it to be vibrant, busy - and that's what we're trying to create there," he said.

Councillors agreed about the importance of recognising and providing benefits to the stadium's regular users, such as by keeping the charges low.

Mr van Velthooven said that charges would not increase anytime soon. Nor was there any intention to raise the court hire cost of $22.50 an hour per court, which had not changed since the stadium opened in 2000.

Committee members said they believed the entry price was set at the right level.

There had been much debate over charges, but councillors agreed they remained low compared to other centres around the country.

"We don't intend to raise charges," Mr van Velthooven said. "It's there to be used . . . I think we've got the price right and we don't intend to change that in the near future."

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- The Marlborough Express

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