$16.2m sought from Govt for convention centre

The Government was asked to contribute $16.2 million to a Queenstown Convention Centre.

The figure was revealed after the Queenstown Lakes District Council released further information on its business case for the centre, prepared by consultants MartinJenkins in January last year, after a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman.

The fresh information showed the council sought $16.2 million from the Government and intended to ask for $2 million from the Community Trust of Southland and the Central Lakes Trust, and $5 million from the Otago Regional Council.

The report said at the time:"Any shortfall will mean that the project will not proceed, or a contribution will need to be found from the development of the surrounding Lakeview site.''

Extra notes provided by the council yesterday said the funding contribution request had since changed.

The estimated total cost of the centre in the first eight years was $98.1 million, offset by revenue of $34.3 million - leaving a $63.8 million shortfall.

The council's contribution was set at $30.9 million.

Trouble finding external funding led the council to defer progress on the Lakeview development, with a convention centre at its heart, last August.

As reported in February, council requests to the Central Lakes Trust and Community Trust of Southland, totalling $10 million, were turned down.

The Otago Daily Times asked the council to confirm what funding, if any, had been confirmed, and to say if the future of the convention centre project depended on the size of the Government's contribution. It did not respond by publication deadline.

A spokeswoman for Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said last night the QLDC had been talking to Government officials about the proposed convention centre "for some time''.

"The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is engaged in discussions with the mayor's office and with QLDC on the issue. In the course of discussions, a number of different sums have been discussed and debated and discussions are still ongoing, '' she said.

A section of the report regarding a request for $5 million from the Otago Regional Council - which was "not considered unreasonable'' - remained redacted. ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said a refunding request had not been made.

"There's been some informal talks, quite some time ago now. Public discussion on the convention centre's gone quiet.''

Lakeview's estimated land value was $5 million but the council said that was a "high-level estimate based on valuations at the time''.


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