City of Literature operation changes endorsed

Dunedin's City of Literature initiative should have a project manager and extra funding soon, after the council voted to increase activity on a project councillors said had been slow to get up and running.

The meeting was going to vote on a recommendation to revoke a decision to set up an independent trust to manage City of Literature, and investigate other models of management.

That followed a failure to find external funding sources to pay for the work, and concerns legal, financial and human resources costs would swallow $50,000 annual funding in the next financial year.

A motion introduced by Cr Aaron Hawkins instead suggested councillors revoke the decision to establish the trust, endorse the interim appointment of a project manager until mid-2018, and allocate a further $50,000, meaning $100,000 all up.

Staff would be asked to investigate ongoing delivery models for the initiative and report back to the next long-term plan process.

Cr Neville Peat said he supported the motion.

He reminded the council it spent money to support the bid for Unesco City of Literature status, and received that 13 months ago.

The length of time between then and now concerned him.

"It's time to get the show on the road,'' he said.

Unesco would expect the city "to be rolling by now''.

There were also other literature projects in New Zealand that would compete for funding.

"This is a really important first step to get us under way in the next month or so.''

Cr Hilary Calvert said she was keen on the idea, as the City of Literature would be "heart and centre of our library''.

Mayor Dave Cull also endorsed the idea, saying ‘‘we need to get runs on the board''.

A report on the ramifications of the new plan would be presented to the council.

Cr Hawkins' motion waspassed.

He said last night he expected the position would be filled soon, using the budget from the current financial year.

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