$5m needed to 'get across line'

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 18/06/2014
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It is hoped a fundraising campaign will find the $5 million shortfall needed to make our new stadium debt-free. Will you donate to the cause?

Yes, it's an asset worth investing in

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Today you're being asked to reach into your pockets and help make your stadium debt-free - with a $100,000 donation marking the start of the "Rattle the Tin" fundraising campaign throughout Southland.

ILT Stadium Southland bosses hope the donation from the Invercargill City Council's Active Communities Fund will be the first of thousands throughout the south as fundraising gets serious to make up the shortfall so that generations of Southlanders to come can enjoy the stadium.

The Stadium Trust has calculated that it still needs $5 million "to get across the line".

The tin-rattling was started last month by the Community Trust of Southland, which granted a further $1m to the tin. Fundraising efforts now stand at $1.1m.

Now it's over to you.

Active Communities chairman Graham Sycamore said there had not been many applications for funding grants, and that had resulted in funds accumulating to more than $1m.

A one-off grant to the stadium was ideal because it fitted into the ethos of the committee, which was to get more people in the region active, more often, Sycamore said.

The trust has accepted Prime Minster John Key's challenge that if "local tins were rattled", the Government would be prepared to contribute a shortfall.

It was asking the Southland community and businesses in the region to make a donation.

Stadium Southland general manager Nigel Skelt said the campaign was a fantastic opportunity for the wider Southland community to work together.

"For the venue to be 'debt free' it will give the stadium the wings to fly and take a huge amount of the pressure off the cashflow.

"It will allow the management team to focus on the community events as well as attracting as many national and international entertainment acts as possible."

The challenge was to make what seems impossible, simply happen, he said.

"It's certainly quite a large tin but we might just have to rattle it

a bit harder, and certainly, when everyone plays their part, we will get there."

Sport Southland chief executive Brendon McDermott said the stadium was an asset to all of Southland.

"It is a real a benefit to us all to have a debt-free stadium so that the venue can have the appropriate balance of big events and community usage."

Community sport and recreation was hugely important to the region and, given its inclement weather, the stadium provided so many all-weather options, he said.

Stadium Southland trust chairman Acton Smith said he hoped the trust would get maximum support from the community to bridge the gap in funding and take the PM up on his challenge.

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The stadium was probably the best in the country and had been build to the highest earthquake standards, making it the safest building in the region, he said.

"I encourage corporates and individuals to participate in this cause, which is a wonderful future for the children of the region."

ILT Stadium Southland Trust deputy chairman Alan Dennis said the trust wanted to demonstrate every effort had been made before Parliament finished at the end of next month for the election.

- The Southland Times

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