Details of a deal under which the Dunedin City Council
will spend $750,000 a year to subsidise greater community use
of the Forsyth Barr Stadium have been confirmed.
Councillors at yesterday's full council meeting voted to
accept a new service level agreement between the council and
Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, the company running the city's
loss-making roofed venue.
The agreement confirmed the council would pay $750,000 a year
to DVML in return for enhanced access to the venue - at
reduced or no cost - for community groups.
The extra funding was first agreed by councillors in May, but
the service level agreement - detailing the requirements of
each party as part of the deal - was only ready to be
endorsed by councillors yesterday.
The deal meant the council would draw up criteria for
subsidised access for charitable and non-profit groups,
including schools, sports clubs and cultural groups, on the
proviso it did not conflict with DVML's commercial
Councillors voted in favour of the agreement despite
concerns expressed by Cr Richard Thomson, and endorsed by Cr
Lee Vandervis, that the extra council funding served to endorse
a high-cost operation within DVML.
Cr Thomson told the meeting he was ''very nervous'' about
spending a ''significant amount of money'' to increase
community use of the stadium.
Doing so would subsidise access for groups that would not
otherwise use the venue, when they might want - but not need
- to. At the same time, ''we help to lock in a high cost mode
of operation'' within DVML, he said.
Instead, the money could be better spent elsewhere, such as
an events incentive fund to attract performers people had ''a
reasonable expectation'' might appear at the stadium, and
which would provide a commercial return, he suggested.
Mayor Dave Cull said the service level agreement included a
clause allowing it to be reviewed or modified at any time.
Council chief executive Paul Orders said the agreement would
be ''a holding position'' until the outcome of the wider
review was known.
Despite opposition from Crs Thomson, Vandervis and Teresa
Stevenson, councillors voted 11-3 to approve the agreement.