Council's funding refusal astounds

A chance to create a spectacular national sports hall of fame in Dunedin is in peril after a ‘‘mind-bogglingly stupid’’ decision by councillors to reject a funding top-up to keep the existing facility open.

‘‘To let it go ... is just criminal,’’ Dunedin sports graphics entrepreneur Sir Ian Taylor said.

Councillors were split 7-7 on whether the Dunedin City Council should provide another lifeline to the embattled sports museum and Mayor Aaron Hawkins used his casting vote to prevent a $100,000 boost.

They also decided unanimously, after a debate behind closed doors on Friday, not to express interest in continuing to host the facility at a council-owned venue.

Sir Ian Taylor is aghast the Dunedin City Council did not give the New Zealand Sports Hall of...
Sir Ian Taylor is aghast the Dunedin City Council did not give the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame a funding boost to keep it open in Dunedin. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
A Christchurch bid has since been confirmed.

The hall of fame has been at the Dunedin Railway Station since 1999, but the site is no longer considered viable and Sport New Zealand suspended its annual $100,000 grant from the end of last year.

The council, which already provides about $47,000 a year and a rental discount, gave a $50,000 lifeline to keep the hall open until June.

Another $100,000 could have kept it operating for another year.

Sir Ian said a group had been working on exciting ideas after a $500,000 pledge from the late Sir Eion Edgar for the hall to set up at Dunedin’s Edgar Centre indoor sports complex.

They included a hologram of runner Jack Lovelock contemplating his race at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and a McLaren Formula 1 race car simulator.

The Edgar Centre would have to embark on a multimillion-dollar expansion to accommodate the hall.

Cr Andrew Whiley said not providing the interim funding shut the door on the future of the hall of fame in Dunedin.

Cr Jules Radich said the council’s decision reduced the likelihood of the hall of fame remaining in Dunedin.

‘‘It diminishes the fine sporting record of Otago and it acts contrary to business development in Dunedin’’.

Sir Ian had hoped the operation at the railway station would stay open while the ambitious vision for a national tourist attraction took shape.

He was amazed by the council’s lack of engagement about the hall’s potential.

Sir Ian and councillors Lee Vandervis and Sophie Barker also had misgivings about the debate being held in the public-excluded part of the meeting.

Mr Hawkins defended this yesterday, saying it would have been hard to separate out the parts of the debate that could have been held in public.

Elected members had not challenged having a non-public discussion, he said.

Mr Hawkins did not support pulling money from other projects to make room for extra funding for the hall.

Cr David Benson-Pope said the council’s priority should be to fund the galleries and museums it already had.

Cr Rachel Elder said getting the council to run the hall would have been too costly.

Cr Carmen Houlahan said Sport NZ was responsible for the hall’s reduced funding.

Cr Steve Walker said grand visions for the hall of fame did not depend on the current operation remaining open.

Cr Vandervis said the lack of a lifeline was a slap in the face for Ron Palenski, who had run the hall and collected memorabilia for it, and Sir Eion and Sir Ian.

He hoped Dunedin was not out of the race long term, ‘‘but I think it’s much more difficult without the council’s support’’.

How they voted

THE MOTION: That the council provides the NZ Sports Hall of Fame up to $100,000 to remain in operation for 2021-22.

FOR: Lee Vandervis, Sophie Barker, Jim O’Malley, Mike Lord, Andrew Whiley, Doug Hall, Jules Radich.

AGAINST: Aaron Hawkins, Christine Garey, David Benson-Pope, Rachel Elder, Carmen Houlahan, Chris Staynes, Steve Walker.

ABSENT: Marie Laufiso.



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You have to ask the question - should these people govern Dunedin? How much did they pay to paint the dots on the road (where are they now?), how much for the star art work on Ross Creek. Over $100,000 for a lead analyser that is unnecessary and to my knowledge unused. Tens of thousands of dollars for a meaningless arch in the Octagon. Millions of dollars on cycle ways that are used by less than 2 percent of the population. Over $200,000,000 on a loss making stadium that will be redundant once the Christchurch stadium is built. And the list goes on. To scrap the Hall of Fame is shortsighted and lacks imagination, unfortunately this what we have come to expect from this council of disappointing near do wells.

What !
The DCC presently does not support any other Museums other than the Otago & TOSM.
There is all talk & no money for all the struggling Dunedin local collections from the DCC, that is their position, tough for those saving, storing & displaying items as best they can running on the smell of an old oily rag.
The Sports Museum is for all NZ's not just Dunedin, where are the buckets of money of from all our very well paid sports businesses ?
The poor old Dunners ratepayer has enough problems without amounting more debt from new money pits.

Arghhhh. What is wrong with the people the public voted to represent them. At this time Dunedin needs to invest in attractions and open doors to business. Its that simple. The Dunedin economy (like the rest of NZ) has taken a Covid hit, and likely will again in the future. The councillors seem utterly oblivious to this. I suppose next the coloured spots will re-appear on the main street! That was good economic spending.

There is simply no evidence of any common sense on the current council. Its time for a clean-out, get a new vibrant bunch of people with ideas and open minds into those council seats. The reason most are there now is because of apathy on the part of voters.

They have done some good things (ie the cycle track around the harbour) but the dumb stuff seems to far outweigh the good in my view.

We will soon lose the benefit of the stadium when CHCH gets theirs up and running, so now is the time to look towards other ventures and other ideas to keep Dunedin at the front of the pack. The sports hall of fame was one of those great ideas.

Im considering running for council next election. Sir Ian you should also consider running.

I do have better words in my vocabulary to describe the DCC and it's members, but i'll keep it short ...

Total bloody idiots ...

Thank you ODT for putting this article on the front page so we can all see who the progressive councilors are (who voted for the Motion) and the stick in the mud councilors who voted against it. There certainly is an old boys network which surrounds and supports the Mayor when it suits them. These dinosaurs are the ones we need to get rid of at the next election.

Have another vote, DCC. We need the Hall of Fame. Follow visionaries who are successful, rather than believe you're the experts at everything -- Sir Eion and Sir Ian = THE visionaries and experts in this area, that can create a truly spectacular visitor experience that Dunedinites will be proud of, and that will draw visitors. What's $100,000 after the dots, botched road works, murals etc?

If, and that is a very big IF, all these luminaries are lining up to contribute buckets of cash to establish the museum at the Edgar Center, why don't they contribute a little each and find the $100k.
There is a real tendency in Dunedin for all sorts of single focus groups to think the ratepayers are simply a bottomless money supply for people person hobbies and fads. That goes for overpaid sports people, illogical greens and a myriad of others.

If the museum is such a fantastic drawcard it would be standing on its own feet. Or at least be able to show impressive visitor numbers. This sports museum does neither.

Actually, if this thing is so valuable to local business then local business can pay for it. All those outraged people should now put their money where their mouths are and gather the $100k from like minded people. After all, I'm paying for their damned stadium.

Christchurch got the bigger stadium and now they have expressed interest in the Sports Hall of Fame. Surprise surprise! They get the funding, why don't we? There will be nothing left in Dunedin soon, except empty stadiums and railway stations. Oh, there will be a new hospital - some day!

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