Hall charge may rise

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is considering bumping up the commercial charges for use of the newly renovated Queenstown Memorial Hall, and it may employ a manager in future.

Lakes Leisure Ltd events and venues manager Jason Marrable outlined the increased charges to the council's community services committee in Wanaka yesterday, and the committee adopted his recommendations.

Under the new schedule, the current $1555, plus GST, full-day rate for the whole venue would rise to $2500, plus GST, and the main auditorium would increase from $1270 to $2000.

The council has almost completed a $3.1 million upgrade of the hall and an official opening is planned for March 16.

Mr Marrable said the charge would still be less than other similar venues in Queenstown and reflected the fact the venue would be much more ''usable and attractive''.

The venue has not had a manager in the past, but Mr Marrable believed it was important one was employed - initially part-time - to ''protect the customer experience''.

''It will be a managed venue. It won't be 'here's the key and good luck'."

Committee member Russell Mawhinney asked for an assurance the money generated from the increased charges would not go simply to paying a manager's wages.

''We want more than that."

Lakes Leisure is also seeking to change the name to the ''Queenstown Memorial Centre''.

• The committee also adopted a Lakes Leisure recommendation that a new ''wedding rate'' charge of $1720, including GST, be imposed on users of the Lake Hayes Pavilion during the peak December to May wedding season.

Mr Marrable said wedding planners in the area supported the new charge.

Two weddings are held at the pavilion each weekend in the season and two-thirds of couples come from elsewhere in New Zealand or Australia.

Local couples will continue to be charged $650.