Venue subsidy plan

It will cost the Dunedin City Council at least $20,000 to provide community groups with a similar level of access to facilities, such as the Skeggs Gallery, as they had before the recent change of management.

The Dunedin City Council recently decided against including $100,000 in its annual plan to subsidise groups using former council-controlled facilities now run by Dunedin Venues Management Limited (DVML).

Council governance manager Sandy Graham has recommended the finance, strategy and development committee consider allocating additional funding to the mayor's discretionary fund to enable community access to DVMLand council meeting rooms, ring-fencing it for venue hire.

It was proposed such a fund would cover access only to the Skeggs Gallery, a former city property meeting room in the Municipal Chambers, and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery conference room and auditorium.

Access to the Town Hall would be reassessed when its redevelopment was complete and as the stadium was a new facility, it was not considered, she said.

Before the change in management, bookings for the Skeggs Gallery were managed by the mayor's office and it was provided free to council staff and community groups.

From August 1, 2008, to July 31, 2009, it was used 188 times, 79 of those for organisations or public meetings, and only seven for commercial uses.

"Based on the usage figures ... and the costs ... approximately $20,000 needs to be allocated to provide a similar level of access," Ms Graham's report said.

To provide the free or subsidised access, council could increase the $40,000 mayoral discretionary fund, ring-fencing the allocation for venue hire or create a separate fund to be run the same way as the mayor's fund, she said.

Suggested guidelines for such a fund included preference for use going to not-for-profit community organisations and distribution of funds to be determined by the mayor and chief executive.

Ms Graham's report will be considered by the committee on Thursday.




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