Committee to help raise stadium funds

DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Last updated 05:00 24/06/2014

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The chairman of a newly-established fundraising committee to muster funds for the Waimate Stadium upgrade, admits it will be a "big job", but is adamant it can be done.

The Waimate Stadium Fundraising Committee, made up of people from the Waimate community, is chaired by local accountant Barry O'Neill.

He led a successful campaign to fund an upgrade of Lister Home in 1995.

O'Neill hopes the committee can raise $950,000 over the next eight months to help fund the project, which has an estimated cost of $3.5 million to $3.8m.

He said while the Waimate District Council has decided to proceed with the project, the fundraising committee is independent of the council.

"Mayor Craig Rowley signalled from the beginning of the public consultation process that the council wanted the community to take responsibility for the bulk of the fundraising.

"We are a completely separate entity from the council, independent of it, and we want to raise at least a quarter of the cost."

O'Neill said the aim of the committee was to raise a "significant" amount of money before it started to apply for grants from charitable organisations, businesses and other interested parties.

"We'll be approaching corporate and individual donors, as well as the large funders like the Lotteries Grants Board.

"We are tapping into the skills and knowledge of people in the community to help see this project become a reality. It's a big job and I'm confident we can achieve it," O'Neill said.

The committee will also be working closely with the Waimate District Charitable Foundation, which will hold all funds raised.

O'Neill stressed the $3.8m price tag was an estimated cost only and not a final figure.

He believes if the committee meets its target, the impact on ratepayers will be less than council's highest estimate.

"They're talking $66 per ratepayer per year to service the loan. The council has told us it's reconsidering some aspects of the design in response to public submissions and obviously that will impact on the final cost," O'Neill said.

Upgrade plans for the stadium include space for a regulation-size basketball, indoor netball, tennis or football court, moving the stage to the opposite end of the building and an atrium level which will use natural light.

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- The Timaru Herald

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