Funding call for big events
Timaru District Council should be putting at least $150,000 into its budget annually to assist significant events held in the district.
And the South Island Masters Games would like $25,000 from that fund each year the event is held in Timaru, and $5000 in alternate years.
Both Special Events Aoraki, which is involved in the running of the games, and the South Island Masters Games (SIMG) want to see the council put more funding into major events that attract visitors to the district, with SIMG chairman Tony Shaw suggesting council funding for events in the past has been "ad hoc" and "unfair".
What was required now was some transparency and a "co-ordinated sensible strategy for events", Mr Shaw told yesterday's long-term plan hearings.
He said the current system, whereby the masters games receives $5000, which is then paid back to the council in venue hire, was unfair to an event with a proven track record.
The games attract between 1800 and 2000 visitors to Timaru, with the estimated economic impact, depending on how it is calculated, ranging from $400,000 to $1.7million.
This year's masters games in Timaru will cost in excess of $300,000 to stage.
He said the council had supported the games to the tune of $5000 two years ago, but it gave $3000 to a multicultural day that attracted 300 people.
Mr Shaw said the council required an event strategy that would define significant events in terms of such factors as numbers attending or participating, numbers of visitors attending or participating from outside the district, and community and economic benefits to the district. He believed at least part of the grant should be spent on promoting the event outside the district.
Event manager Chris Thomas suggested the council had a far more "hands-off" approach than almost every other council he had been involved with.
"Most councils have a very proactive approach towards events," he said, stating that other councils provided funding and had robust strategies to capitalise on events and maximise their impact.
Mr Thomas is recommending council initially put $150,000 into an event fund/programme, with that amount doubling over the next five years.
With suitable marketing it was estimated the masters games could attract 3700 to 3800 participants by 2014. About 60 per cent of participants are visitors to the region, with the average stay being 2.4 bed nights. About 25 per cent of participants brought one or more unregistered visitors.
Councillors will start considering the submissions this afternoon after the remaining submitters have been heard.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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