Hall still needs more fundraising


Fundraising for Queens-town’s multi-million dollar hall upgrade hasn’t stopped despite a council rescue package.
An estimated $3 million overhaul of downtown Memorial Hall was on the brink of collapse last week. With more than $2.2m raised, the Lotteries Commission then rejected an application for a final $800,000. 

A Lotteries letter to the Queenstown Memorial Hall Trust said it wanted to see hall owner Queenstown Lakes District Council stump up more money before contributing. 

The deadline for Lotteries’ next funding round was yesterday. Council moved quickly and held a special meeting the day before, approving an extra grant of $500,000 plus a $300,000 bridging loan. Ecstatic hall trust chair Cath Gilmour, also a councillor, says the new money don’t mean fund-raising is no longer required. 

The trust plans to repay council the $300,000 loan and estimates $60,000 more is needed. 

“This is fantastic, but it’s not over rover,” Gilmour says. 

Three companies remain in the running for the project, which includes improvements to the bedraggled hall’s acoustics, stage area, seating and foyer. 

It’s expected one of three tenders from Arrow Inter-national, Rilean Construction and Naylor Love Construction will be selected early next week. 

The extra $500,000 put in by council comes from an estimated $2.5m Queenstown Airport Cor­poration dividend for 2012/2013. Council is yet to finalise its policy for how this dividend stream should be used but an initial proposal to split it – half for debt repayment and half for community projects – has had no negative public feedback. 

The council’s extra $500,000 comes on top of a previously committed $492,000.