Church building may have a different role

St Thomas’ Church at Omarama. Photo: David Bruce
St Thomas’ Church at Omarama. Photo: David Bruce
Discussions are under way between Tourism Waitaki and Omarama’s St Thomas’ Church for the church building to be turned into a i-Site.

Tourism Waitaki Ltd general manager Jason Gaskill said the discussions had struck no obstacles yet, but he was sensitive to the issues which might surround the "socially important" building.

If plans were confirmed to turn the site into an i-Site, he did not expect the building to have to undergo any major conversion work other than adding some signage.

If everything went to plan, he expected work on the i-Site to begin in November.

In 2008, the Otago Daily Times reported the church’s building committee was seeking public support to keep the church operating.

Only one service a month was being held at the church and there was insufficient cashflow to meet expenses.

This week, Mr Gaskill said Omarama did not have a formal information point, but he said the town sat in a "privileged position" at the junction of two primary South Island thoroughfares which enjoyed a high volume of visitors seeking advice.

"Typically, visitors want to know what they can see, what they can do, and where are the special things most people miss. This is what i-Sites, and their specifically trained staff, specialise in providing that other businesses may find difficult or disruptive to provide on a regular basis alongside their core activities.

"We see great value in establishing a permanent site in Omarama, and look forward to being a more active, local business participant and supporter."

The church was built in 1986.

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