Queenstown support for stadium show

After a poor turn-out in Invercargill and a cancelled presentation in Gore, Awatea Stadium Trust chairman Malcolm Farry's funding roadshow attracted a decent show of support in Queenstown last night.

Mr Farry said he was doing a hard-sell "blanketed in information" to try to build support for the Dunedin stadium throughout the region.

About 50 people were at the Crowne Plaza hotel last night to hear what facilities the stadium would provide and what sponsorship products were on offer.

The biggest-ticket item was the stadium's naming rights, but Mr Farry was seeking indications of interest in the lounge seats, which are available for $1500 plus GST per year.

Along with guaranteed seating at most sporting events and preferential bookings for events managed by outside interests, buyers would be given membership to a lounge area.

With the project estimated to cost $188 million, he needs to find the last $45-$50 million before the project can be confirmed.

"We won't know if the stadium is going to be built until February or March next year," he said.

He promised a multipurpose facility which would be used throughout the year by the University of Otago and the people of Dunedin.

As well as being a venue for sports events and concerts as well as having conference and event facilities, the facility would have a plethora of cafes and bars, which would ensure there were always "good pies and cold beer" available.

The stadium would also make Otago University a more attractive place for students and bring more of them to the region.

Attracting even 2000 more students would bring $120 million a year, every year, to the city and the region, he said.

Earlier in the day, there was opposition to the stadium as Wakatipu residents had their say at the Otago Regional Council draft annual plan submissions hearing.

The submissions panel heard four submissions against the stadium receiving funding from the ORC, from Allan Huntingdon, Andrew and Heather Taylor, Basil Walker and Jim Ledgerwood.

In his submission, Mr Walker said if ORC wanted to fund the stadium, it should "amalgamate into one united Otago administration body" with the district councils because stadiums did not fall under the council's function.

Along with other submitters, he was worried about the burden on Otago ratepayers if the ORC provided funding.

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