Events are us QLDC

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Commercial event organisers will be able to tap into a $140,000 pot for a helping hand from Queenstown Lakes District Council.

QLDC’s new “events strategy” – 10 months in the making – sailed through the community services committee recently and faces only 10-year-plan hearings before adoption.

Half the new money will be added to the present $41,000 of direct subsidies for events, making $91,000 available from a contestable fund labelled an “events partnership programme”.

The other $50,000 of new money will go on “logistical support” via a “one-stop-shop” to smooth red-tape matters such as consents, permits and road closures, as well as coordinate a district-wide events calendar.

As previously reported, all this is on top of $260,000 being spent this year by another QLDC quango, Lakes Leisure, on “mobile infrastructure” for events – such as portaloos, demountable seating and generators.

It’s not known whether LL will hire this out at mates’ rates or normal market prices.

QLDC arts and events facilitator Jan Maxwell penned the pitch that went before the community services committee.

“In the current market it’s getting more and more difficult for event organisers to acquire fund­­ing from either sponsors or funding agencies, and this is one reason they’re requesting a fund of contestable money be made available to support their events, as is provided in other regions,” Maxwell told councillors.

“The issue of events has generated a significant debate about the level of rates that should be applied to events and has created much difference of opinion [in] the amount of financial support council should provide to a variety of events.”

Maxwell’s report reveals an “events workshop committee” – thought to comprise mainly event organisers – originally sought $500,000 in subsidies.

As QLDC “event facilitator”, Maxwell will choose from four levels of subsidy for each event she decides to back – ranging from $5000 for minnow events to more than $25,000 for mega-events.

“[The] allocation of funds [will be] extremely competitive,” says QLDC’s events strategy.

Private functions, conferences and political events won’t be supported – nor will those “that denigrate, exclude or offend parts of the community”.

There will be two event funding rounds yearly, with QLDC taking three months to decide the winners.