ICC refusing funding for Rugby Park
The Invercargill City Council has joined a queue of organisations in refusing to provide any financial assistance for the maintenance of Rugby Park, the home of the Southland Stags.
The council decided this week, in response to submissions to its long-term plan, not to take over ownership of the park or provide financial assistance to its owners, the Southland Outdoor Stadium Trust.
Mayor Tim Shadbolt said, however, that Rugby Park was an important community facility and the council would meet and work with all interested parties to find a solution to the cost of maintaining and operating Rugby Park stadium.
The Southland Outdoor Stadium Trust is more than $1million in debt and requires $200,000 a year for maintenance.
Ian Tulloch, chairman of the stadium trust, remained upbeat yesterday, despite the obvious setback.
"At least there's a willingness to work with us to maintain the facility to a suitable standard, which was the objective of our request," Mr Tulloch said.
"We look forward to continuing discussion with the council."
The trust had not asked for any funding assistance for Rugby Park for eight years but, with the building being nearly 10 years old, maintenance would become an issue and the trust would require financial support, he said. Maintenance was up to date, he added.
The trust would continue to work with the community funders to find a solution, Mr Tulloch said, but indications were that the going might be tough.
The council's decision to reject a funding application for $200,000 a year for Rugby Park maintenance follows on the heels of Southland's two major community funders – The Invercargill Licensing Trust and the Community Trust of Southland – suggesting they also had no appetite to supply further funding to the owners of Rugby Park.
Alan Dennis, chairman of both the licensing trust and ILT Foundation, said in March they had given the Rugby Park trust more than $3m since 2001 and its board felt it had "done our fair bit for rugby".
Community Trust of Southland chairman Tracy Hicks also indicated in March it would not be rushing to the aid of the park's owners.
The community trust had been "very involved" in the various rescue packages around rugby in the past few years and that included a $750,000 interest-free loan to the Rugby Park trust, to ensure the asset was secured, Mr Hicks said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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