Information workshop in wind


A workshop on information available to Ashburton resident and visitors will be held.

It came at the behest of returning councillor Angus McKay who moved successfully that "a workshop on information delivered to the people of Ashburton and visitors and how it fits into the new CBD plan''.

The motion, opposed by Cr Stuart Wilson, came after council discussed the quarterly report of tourism body Experience Mid Canterbury.

General manager Bruce Moffat said only three of 80 i-Sites in New Zealand made money.

He said most people booked online or found out about an area by searching online.

He said he had seen people come into an i-Site, make an inquiry, then go outside, flip out a phone and make a booking.

But Cr McKay, holding out his phone, asked where the information was - he said he had looked and could not find it.

Mr Moffat went to take the phone to show him the site, but mayor Neil Brown said that might be better outside the meeting.

Cr Lynette Lovett said the workshop should also include all groups that provide information, such as Presbyterian Support, and not just council and Experience Mid Canterbury.

Cr Stuart Wilson asked if it was correct that when the Ashburton i-Site closed that the money saved was added to the budget of Experience Mid Canterbury.

The chairman, James Urquhart, said that was right, but the organisation, then, was going down a dark hole and then became a council-controlled organisation, meaning its costs went up.

And council had been reducing its budget by $10,000 a year every year.

"We are going backwards,'' Mr Urquhart said.

Cr Wilson said he was "probably the author'' of that but surely the tourism industry could make up the difference.

"What other industry is subsidised to the extent of tourism?''

Mr Moffat said Experience Mid Canterbury had never made any money.

Cr Wilson said if the body was "doing such a wonderful job'' why aren't they (tourism businesses) supporting you.

Mr Urquhart said they were, and the discussion was going in circles.

He said the district got a good return on any council money.

Cr Falloon said any previous motions on the subject should be brought to the workshop.

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