Editorial: Problem has silver lining

PETER O'NEILL
Last updated 05:00 01/07/2014

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OPINION: There is good and bad news in Timaru having to hang out its "town full" sign more often.

Good that there is high demand for our hotel and motel beds; bad that it may jeopardise the staging of some events.

Mostly though this has to be seen as a positive, because the reverse would be a disaster. Instead, beds are being snapped up not just for specific events, but by people doing business here.

Changes to the port's ownership structure and ongoing developments there; the continued expansion of dairying and in particular the new plant at Glenavy; the South Canterbury Finance trial - all have had a bearing.

And if that is happening on the surface, what else is going on?

More jobs, for one, more investment, increased optimism.

And that feeds a merry-go-round. The opening of subsidiary businesses, more money generally in the community.

So while in recent years a couple of new motels have been built, we may need more.

In the meantime it will be a balancing act, especially around those one-off events.

Timaru has an excellent reputation for these. The town is large enough to boast some excellent sporting facilities, while small enough to be safe and convenient for visitors, especially for school tournaments.

But as many of these tournaments are held during the school holidays and therefore through the week, they may come into conflict with the increased business demand.

Likewise, the Masters Games is a great attraction every second year, but it runs on weekdays as well as weekends. And this year it clashes with a car race meeting.

There may be an argument for better timing of events, but dates are determined by so many factors, some of them external, and there will be clashes. Especially as the demands of businesses can't be planned for.

In recent years there have been a couple of proposals to build motels that did not eventuate. The indications are that the timing is right for someone to have another look.

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- The Timaru Herald

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