Queenstown’s Memorial Hall upgrade has been rocked by a major funding blow leaving it three-quarters of a million short.
The Queenstown Memorial Hall Trust has fundraised and received grants to the tune of more than $2.2 million for the estimated $3m project.
It had applied for a further $800,000 from the Lotteries Commission expecting to get about $600,000.
Lotteries has turned down the application, saying Queenstown Lakes District Council needs to put some more funding in first.
New donations this week
Queenstown Rotary Charitable Trust $10,000
Creative Queenstown $5000
Further from Locals’ Ball $4700
Magic Memories $2500
Janet and John Blair $2000
Philippa Archibald $1000
Caltex Queenstown $1000
SKYCITY Queenstown Casino $500
Festival of Colour $500
Richard and Robyn Lee $500
Yevrah Ornstein $500
Rotto Family $500
The trust has raised a further $60,000 in recent weeks but now faces being about $750,000 short.
Disappointed trust chair Cath Gilmour (right) – also a councillor – says Lotteries did explain the project ticked all the boxes but money was tight and no applicants got all they asked for, with many receiving nothing.
However, Gilmour says Lotteries did let her know early so the trust has a chance to reapply by the next funding round’s expiry of July 11.
At a meeting on Monday, the trust decided to ask council for further funding and a bridging loan to ensure the project goes ahead on schedule.
Gilmour wouldn’t say how much they’d be asking council for and was unsure how much more Lotteries wanted to see council chip in.
Council is holding a special meeting this coming Tuesday at 3pm to consider the matter.
“We hope council will provide us with the support we need to reapply,” Gilmour says.
“There is still every reason for us to be in go-ahead mode – we have more than $2.2m in hand and huge community support. Delaying this vital upgrade would only add to the project’s and community’s costs.”
Council has committed $492,000 so far which Gilmour says is equal to the hall’s planned capital upgrade spend.
“Council is going to need to commit some more funds to improve what is its asset. It’s worth remembering the last time the hall was upgraded, in 1998, the entire cost fell on ratepayers.”
Asked if it left the upgrade in a perilous position, Gilmour says: “No, because we’re optimistic we’ll get the support.
The hall needs the upgrade, the community has already said that, council I think accepts that so somewhere somehow we have to raise the rest of the money.”
Mountain Scene: “What about using Queenstown Airport dividend funds?”
Gilmour: “Personally I think that’d be a fantastic fit, it’s a long-term community asset. But it’s not my call ... that’s my fellow councillors’ decision.”
Trust deputy chair Steve Wilde, who instigated the upgrade project two years ago, urges both council and the community to help.
“I had anticipated locals were going to have to work hard to do this, and that’s what we’re going to do. You can’t just sit back and expect funding agencies to stump up all the cash.”
Lotteries’ decision reinforced the trust’s belief that Queenstown can’t afford a bigger, purpose-built theatre now.
“There’s no money for that and this proves it. Times are tough,” Wilde says.
Tenders for the upgrade close tomorrow after tenderers called for extension of time from a previous deadline of last Friday.
So far major contributors to the project have been Central Lakes Trust ($1m), the Community Trust of Southland ($400,000) and $300,000 in donations and contributions from the Queenstown community.
Thomas Brown Gallery on Speargrass Flat Road hosts a fundraising concert this Sunday at 2.30pm. Tickets are $25.
No surprise where?
From the CTOS trust website. "The trust represents the people in the area previously served by Trust Bank Southland, which includes all of the province of Southland plus Queenstown, Arrowtown and Tapanui."
I'm guessing this is why Queenstown organisations think they are eligible to apply for funding. If you knew the history, you probably wouldn't have that chip on your shoulder.
Also, I don't know what the Riverton Soundshell is, but I'm guessing it needs a good spruce up (based on your comments), maybe get someone to get the sand out of the carpet and such. Good luck with your application next year.
Mind you, you could probably clean the carpet yourself, like the rest of us.
07 Jul 2012 08:31PMnzmick
No surprises there!
I hate to say it but I am pleased that the Lotteries Commission declined the application. Such huge handouts that should be spread thinner in my opinion. I was shocked that CTOS gave so much - it's great to be a part of the Southland province when you want funding isn't it??? The vast population of Qtown wouldn't even think as to why they would be eligble to apply for CTOS money in the first place! The Riverton Soundshell could have done with a chunk of that $400k thank you very much. The Council needs to take better care of the facilities that already exist in it's Community rather than wasting it on bigger, better, flasher facilities it may think it needs. Work for it like the rest of us.
06 Jul 2012 03:05PMCazna
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