Cycling Southland finances off track Cycling Southland in strife

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2014

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Cycling Southland is trying to rebuild after significant losses to its cash reserves.

The organisation has seen cash reserves dwindle from more than $500,000 to less than $40,000 since 2008.

Cycling Southland president and Invercargill accountant Lindsay Jordan is working two hours a day out of the Cycling Southland office to try to trace a path forward.

The organisation had managed to build reserves back up to about $60,000 and would be able to continue paying its bills, Jordan said.

After looking into Cycling Southland's accounts, Phil Culling has opted not to take up the new general manager role, instead remaining as financial manager at Environment Southland.

Cycling Southland has lost money for the past three years, including a $123,213 loss last year.

It is understood this year's loss could be another six-figure amount.

There are a range of reasons for the organisation's financial issues.

While Cycling Southland had set aside $100,000 as part of its commitment to hosting the junior world track championships along with BikeNZ two years ago, it bore the brunt of extra costs from the event.

Unbudgeted expenditure included a new $40,000 scoreboard.

Income had remained relatively static while costs had increased significantly. Wage costs have almost doubled since 2008.

Events such as the Tour of Southland continue to lose money, while the collapse of Stadium Southland in 2010 and the need to share the velodrome with other sports and events had affected Cycling Southland's income.

Jordan estimated the organisation had lost "in the ballpark of" $100,000 in potential revenue over three years because of track unavailability.

The Southland Times has been told there is no suggestion of any misappropriation of funds, but those inside the sport are shocked at the way cash reserves, which had been carefully built up over many years thanks largely to the support of community funders, have almost disappeared in just five years.

Former chief executive Nick Jeffrey, who held the post from early 2010 until September, said he was proud of what the organisation had achieved during his time, including the delivery of the junior world track championships.

Life members, office holders and selectors were told the full extent of the problem at a special meeting on Monday.

The situation is having an impact on the sport.

A fulltime co-ordination role, which will become vacant after next week's national age-group championships, has been advertised as a 30-hour-a-week job.

Cycling Southland will not be able to provide its previous level of financial support for cyclists representing the province.

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Junior teams have already been doing most of their own fundraising for races coming up this season.

The issue is exacerbated with Invercargill now taking turns hosting both the national age-group track championships and elite track championships with the new velodrome in Cambridge after a seven-year monopoly on those two events.

It appears likely that track hire and membership fees may have to increase to help Cycling Southland out of its current position, although Jordan said it was too early to talk about just what measures will need to be taken.

No decisions have been made on what to do about the vacant general manager role, he said.

 

- The Southland Times

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