Funding runs out for Tekapo i-Site

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 22/06/2012

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The Lake Tekapo i-Site will close on July 8, due to a lack of funding.

The site's future has been under a cloud for several months, after the Mackenzie Tourism and Development Trust dropped out of administering it earlier this year.

The Tekapo community board agreed to fund it until the end of June in an effort to keep it open, but chairman Murray Cox said it could not afford to administer it any more.

"It was always going to be a temporary solution until we found someone else to step in," he said.

"It's a disappointing state of affairs, but hopefully we can get a few of the local operators together to find an alternative solution.

"Of all the visitor centres in the Mackenzie district, it had the most people coming through its doors, but the problem is that giving out information does not necessarily translate into revenue for the centre."

The i-Site opened in November 2009, and employed about three people on a part or fulltime basis.

The announcement comes in the wake of the Mackenzie District Council's decision to disband the tourism trust, which had asked the council to increase its funding from about $250,000 per year to up to $450,000.

The council will keep funding for tourism and economic development at its current rate for the next year.

Mr Cox said all the operators needed to discuss the best way forward, particularly as the town's visitor numbers were expected to increase in the future.

"If we're soon going to have an extra 100,000 visitors per year coming through our town, as is projected, then we need to have to work out what sort of infrastructure the town needs to accommodate them, and what sort of information we need to provide," he said.

Over the last year, a local promotions association has taken over the Twizel information centre, while Mt Cook Alpine Salmon will take over the running of the Lake Pukaki visitor centre, which the trust closed just before Christmas.

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- The Timaru Herald

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