WELLINGTON COUNCIL TOLD TO SPEND $4M ON CONFERENCE CENTRE OR LOOSE $24.7M IN BUSINESS posted on: 17/7/2012 11:04:51
AUSTRALASIA - A Wellington City Council has said the local authority needs to spend NZ$4m (US$3.2m) on a temporary conference venue or it runs the risk of losing $24.7m worth of conference business in three years.
The New Zealand city’s town hall, which is a key conference and events space for the city, is currently being earthquake strengthened. The report to councillors on a possible replacement venue for events recommends spending $4m to turn Shed 6 and the TSB Arena into a conference venue.
Local news agency, the Wellington Reporter, says that this was the recommendation despite the fact 65 per cent of people who commented on the project during consultation did not support it.
“The value of this (conference) business to the Wellington GDP is significant and, at a time when the Wellington economy is stagnant, the timing of the potential loss of this business is not ideal,” the report said. “The refurbishment of TSB Arena and Shed 6 is the only option that provides a high degree of certainty in terms of being able to maintain the medium and large conferences.
'"There is a high risk that if Wellington is not able to host these events in the immediate term then this business will be lost to other centres and it may prove difficult to return to the city,” the report added.
Alternative venues proposed include Te Papa, the Wharewaka and Macs Brewbar and Function Centre. “A mix of alternative venues would not be sufficient to retain the medium- and large-conference business and that there would be a significant negative impact on the Wellington economy from the reduction in this business,” the report added.
A final decision is due at this week’s strategy and policy committee meeting.