Stadium Southland funding request denied

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    ILT Stadium Southland. Photo: Southland Express files

    THE Southland District Council (SDC) denied a request for an increase in funding to help run ILT Stadium Southland at a council meeting last week.

    Southland District Mayor Gary Tong said it had been a unanimous decision.

    “We discussed it at length and voted against the increase.”

    There were several reasons for the decision, the main one being the council had other infrastructure in the district it needed to support, he said.

    It was also suggested the stadium team needed to investigate other funding options, such as entry by a gold coin donation, he said.

    The Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust (SILCCT), which owns and operates the stadium, requested an increase in funding from its funders, the Invercargill City Council (ICC), Community Trust of Southland (CTOS), the Invercargill Licensing Trust (ILT) and SDC, to cover its increasing operating costs, unexpected expenses and depreciation and to pay off the remaining debt owing on the rebuild.

    The trust had borrowed $7 million from Invercargill City Holdings in May 2013 to help finance the $40 million stadium rebuild project.

    About $1.5m was still outstanding, which was to be repaid by June 30 next year.

    At present, the ICC and ILT each contributed $400,000, CTOS contributed $80,000 and SDC provided $75,000 towards the operational costs of Stadium Southland and the velodrome each year.

    The ILT had agreed to increase its contribution to $550,000 and CTOS had increased its annual funding by $170,000 to $250,000 each year for the next three years. The ICC was yet to make a decision.

    SILCCT chairman Alan Dennis said the SDC’s decision was disappointing as Southlanders used the stadium as much as city residents did.

    However, the SDC’s decision had made the trust even more determined to secure the funds needed because the stadium was an important asset for the region.

    “Our intention is to protect the stadium to serve future generations.

    “The stadium brings so much business to Southland and the cost of operating it is not minuscule, but it is an investment to ensure people come and stay in Southland.”

    Mr Dennis said the trust had considered charging users for entry into the stadium, but it was concerned participation rates would drop as a result.

    “We don’t want to price it out of people’s reach.

    “The cost to collect the money and hassles around who pays what would make it difficult to implement.”

    The SDC’s decision was a minor setback, he said.

    “SDC’s contribution of $75,000 was not insignificant.

    “We thank [SDC] for its support and continued support.”

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