Development board on target

The Waitaki Development Board is likely to end this financial year with a small surplus after this week reporting a half-year result of a $90,238 surplus after tax.

The Waitaki District Council-owned company, responsible for economic development and tourism, on Tuesday released its report for the first six months of this financial year.

However board chairman Tony Caldwell told the council the surplus was because of projects yet to be completed.

"We are likely to end the [financial] year with a small surplus, but not significant," he said.

Most of the board's income comes from council grants for projects and operating enterprises such as the I-Site information centre and Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony. In past years, it has returned any surplus to the council.

For the first six months of the 2010-11 financial year, the board had total revenue of $564,932, of which just over $400,000 was in council grants. Expenditure, including tax, totalled $474,694.

Key economic development projects this financial year have included development of the new Oamaru farmers' market, supporting an irrigation conference, funding for a new exhibition venture, assistance with a new Victorian business in Oamaru and retaining businesses in North Otago.

The council adopted a 10-year tourism strategy in December which would provide direction for what was a key economic driver for the region.

A website was being developed which would be focused more on sales using new technologies.

The Oamaru I-Site, in the first six months had 39,862 visitors compared with 39,173 in the same period the previous year.

Numbers visiting the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, a major tourist attraction managed by the board, in the same period fell from 35,857 to 34,427, but it was on track to achieve a $100,000 surplus for the financial year.


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