A quarter million Gigatown dollars

Dunedin city councillors unanimously voted in favour of spending $250,000 to help Dunedin take full advantage of its Gigatown victory.

The allocation of funds at yesterday's long-term plan deliberations was subject to council staff coming up with an implementation plan for how the money would be spent and governing the process for distributing it.

That implementation plan will be considered at the next economic development subcommittee meeting.

Cr Mike Lord began the discussion on Gigatown by asking if the city was doing enough to take advantage of the win.

Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie said it had been ''hamstrung'' by the lack of funding in the past year, but the $250,000 allocated for next year would be enough for it to ''get a number of projects under way''.

That funding would go through Enterprise Dunedin, which would consult the Digital Community Trust regarding choosing projects.

Cr Hilary Calvert said it was important there was an overarching ''measurable'' strategy when it came to implementing Gigatown, Mr Christie said he would anticipate reporting back to the council on measurable targets when it came to any Gigatown funding.

Mayor Dave Cull said the council needed to provide some ''direction'' on Gigatown, as it had become clear there was ''confusion'' among different groups.

Cr Chris Staynes, who put up the resolution that funding be subject to staff coming up with an implementation plan, said the council needed to provide funding for making the most of Gigatown, as it was clear implementation had been ''significantly impaired'' by the lack of funding.

However, it was important there was a ''good process'' in place, he said.

Cr Lee Vandervis questioned the need to go outside council for the implementation of Gigatown, saying council staff had shown themselves to have the expertise to do it themselves.

Chief executive Sue Bidrose said staff with relevant experience were busy on other projects and simply did not have time to work on Gigatown.

Cr Vandervis suggested work could be reprioritised and staff could spend less time working on strategies and writing submissions to central government, which were not listened to anyway.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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