Council to develop 'events office' plan

The Queenstown Lakes District Council has instructed its chief executive to begin developing an "events office action plan" and report back by August on how such an office would be operated, staffed and governed.

Last month, the council took a cautious approach to an events industry task force recommendation that the council increase its annual events budget from $380,000 to $1.6 million over four to five years.

It has pruned back a request to set aside $175,000 in next year's budget to $100,000.

The call for an events office and events budget increase follows a series of Shaping Our Futures community forums.

The proposals were considered during a recent council workshop on the long-term community plan which was closed to the media.

Chief executive Debra Lawson told a recent council meeting in Wanaka $50,000 would cover additional staffing costs and $50,000 would become a discretionary events fund.

The public could comment on the funding during the submissions phase for the long-term plan and rates review, she said.

"The $75,000 removed from the task force recommendations were for items that the council would assist with [such as] using in-house resources, such as office accommodation and development of the strategic plan," Mrs Lawson said.

The task force also recommended the events office be governed independently from the council, but did not offer a specific model.

Mrs Lawson said there were two options: a council department governed by a council working party that includes events and tourism industry membership; or an incorporated society with membership drawn from the council and stakeholders.

It would be difficult for the council to endorse a particular governance model until it could be satisfied on a range of issues, such as accountability, organisational structure, funding and strategic planning, she said.

Those issues will be addressed in her August report.


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