Worries tourism will be hit by reduced service

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 08:18 13/02/2014
dave jack timaru
Timaru District councillor Dave Jack

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Concerns about Geraldine's new information centre will be passed on to Aoraki Development Business and Tourism (ADBT), which made the decision to move it and reduce its hours.

The Geraldine Community Board had asked the Timaru District Council to look at its concerns about its new information centre, described as a "rabbit warren".

The council's policy and development committee discussed the issue yesterday but decided to refer it to ADBT to find out the logic behind their decision.

Geraldine community board member Wayne O'Donnell said the reduced opening hours were inadequate to meet visitors' needs, especially as it had been closed on busy weekends in Geraldine.

"Tourism is important to the Geraldine economy because many Geraldine businesses are either completely reliant on income from visitors or are reliant for a substantial part of their income."

The committee yesterday agreed to request a report from ADBT about what could be done.

However, Cr Dave Jack was concerned the tourist season would have finished before the issue was addressed.

"A temporary solution should be put in place while ADBT investigates and comes back with a report to give Geraldine people assurances they will be looked after."

Committee chairwoman Tracy Tierney said it needed to know the rationale behind the ADBT move.

Cr Tony Brien was concerned that if the council carried out a report, it would be coming in over the top of the governance board of ADBT, which had the mandate to look after tourism for the council.

"The first port of call has to be to the board of ADBT."

Geraldine ward councillor and community board member Kerry Stevens has described the situation as diabolical. He wanted the service restored to its previous level, and the centre back in a more visible location. He described the current building as a "rabbit warren" which only had standing room for four or five visitors.

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- The Timaru Herald

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