Council to mull $800,000 request to save Queenstown hall upgrade

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The group behind a planned $3 million upgrade of Queenstown’s hall today asks council for a further $800,000 to save the project.

The Queenstown Memorial Hall Trust’s request comprises a $500,000 grant and an approximate $300,000 temporary loan – it’s approximate as the project’s final tender price is still being finalised.

Queenstown Lakes District Council, which is already contributing $492,000 to the Memorial Hall – in dire need of an upgrade – considers the request at an extraordinary meeting at 3pm today.

The trust was on track to meet its funding target of $3 million until a request for the final $800,000 was rejected by the Lotteries Commission – as revealed in Mountain Scene last week.

However, Lotteries advised the trust that’s its application ticked all the boxes but it wanted to see council commit further funding first.

Lotteries then invited the trust to reapply for funding before the expiry of its next round of applications which is tomorrow (Wednesday).

A report on the matter to be considered by council suggests three options – cancelling the project, delaying the project at likely significant increase in cost or granting the new money.

One option recommended as a source of council funding is Queenstown Airport Corporation dividends. Council is still finalising a policy on how to use the dividends – forecast to be $2.5m for the coming financial year.

Trust chair Cath Gilmour, also a councillor, reveals further community donations are still rolling in, on top of $60,000 collected in the past few weeks.

New money this past week includes an anonymous $10,000 pledge, the Michae Hill International Violin Competition Charitable Trust ($5000), Monty’s Bar ($2500), Pig & Whistle Pub ($2500) and Remarkable Vocals and Friends Concert at Thomas Brown Gallery ($1342).