Fundraising efforts for a future Waitaki Event Centre have just been given another massive boost.
In the Waitaki District Council’s 2021-32 long-term plan, which was adopted on Tuesday, the council has confirmed it will contribute up to $9 million for the project, with a further $1 million coming from the RMA reserve.
With $10 million from the council and an anonymous $5 million pledge – ”the catalyst for getting the ball rolling” – the Waitaki Event Centre Trust now has the task of raising another $5 million by the end of the year.
Trustee Kevin Malcolm said the council’s and anonymous donor’s contributions to the centre were superb and gave the trust the momentum to move forward.
“Especially when you look at what [the council] are going through with local government reforms – it’s a huge commitment in line with that,” Malcolm said.
Malcolm, along with fellow trustees Adair Craik, Denise McMillan and Deidre Senior, will be targeting “core groups” in Waitaki for funding in the coming months.
They will also look to the wider community for additional support through their marketing campaign.
Social media and Givealittle pages will also be set up to build momentum.
Senior said it was important the community was involved along the way.
The projected cost for the six-court facility at Centennial Park “for every sport imaginable” is $24million. It will include meeting rooms, office spaces, storage space, spectator areas and 80 car parks.
Waitaki sporting groups could “lease” areas to base themselves at the centre, making it a sporting hub, and it would be open for schools and groups to use for various events, such as Clued Up Kids.
The Waitaki Sports Hall of Fame could be moved from the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre to the new facility.
It also opened the door for Waitaki to host big regional games, such as Southern Steel and Otago Nuggets fixtures, and to host more regional sporting tournaments.
“We’ve got local people who are team members of the Steel, who are coaching staff of the Nuggets. We’re a breeding ground for those teams so it would only be fair that we get to showcase them to our local players,” Senior said.
Through the council’s long-term plan consultation period, 78% of submitters were in favour of the council contributing at least $10 million to the project.
The strong support from all generations showed it was a necessity, McMillan said.
“Waitaki is growing and we’re probably biting our noses off to spite our faces by not having something like that here for different families to come into the town,” McMillan said.
Craik said it was “hugely exciting” to get the go-ahead from the council. It would be Waitaki’s largest recreational development since the Waitaki Aquatic Centre, 22 years ago.
They were aiming for the centre to be built and open for the start of the netball season in 2024.
Those wanting to support the stadium can contact Adair Craik on 021309-439 or firstname.lastname@example.org.