Special rate may be needed for stadium

NEW-LOOK STADIUM: An artist’s impression of the planned Waimate Stadium upgrade, which would cost an estimated $3.5-$3.8m.
NEW-LOOK STADIUM: An artist’s impression of the planned Waimate Stadium upgrade, which would cost an estimated $3.5-$3.8m.

The Waimate District Council's "worst-case scenario" for funding the proposed Waimate Stadium upgrade would see a special rate of $88 per property from 2015-16.

Mayor Craig Rowley on Monday night said ratepayers now made an annual payment of $22 in their rates for the stadium.

The worst-case scenario assumes no outside funding or grants for the project, which is estimated to cost between $3.5m and $3.8m, Mr Rowley said during presentation of the stadium plans to a public meeting.

It would see the stadium rate increase from $22 to $33 in the 2014-15 year; and from $33 to $88 in the following year. The rate would cover repayments and interest for the 40-year term of the loan, which would be the life of the upgraded building.

Running costs and maintenance would be met out of existing rates, and there would likely be some user pays element.

Deputy mayor Sharyn Cain said the council would work with user groups to ensure fees were affordable.

"The more it is used, the less it should cost people. That's why having a facility manager for 25 hours a week is important."

Mr Rowley said the idea of a speed build for fundraising had been discussed, but it would be over to the external fundraising committee to plan and manage.

"We want the community to form an external fundraising group. We want it to come from the people," he said

During a question and answer session on the plan, people commented on the potential for local tradespeople to be involved in the build, both as sub-contractors and fundraisers.

Business owner Des McMaster said when a new public swimming pool was built in Wanaka, builders there had given their time as a contribution to the project. "The builders all gave a week's work free of cost to help."

Builders in Waimate may want to do the same, he said.

"They may even give time to build a house that could be auctioned off, and that money could go to the project."

Council property manager Sue Kelly said council wanted to support local businesses and tradespeople.

"But not to the detriment of the tender process. I love the idea of the builders giving a week, and this would need to be set down before the tender process."

The council was having ongoing discussions with the Waimate Squash Club, which uses part of the stadium.

"We are working on a memorandum of understanding as to who covers the costs of that part of the building. If the squash club or any other group want to get involved and stump up with some of the costs, then come and talk to us."

Submissions on the proposal close on April 1.

The Timaru Herald