Network Waitaki is putting its power behind Oamaru’s new indoor sport and event centre project.
The trust-owned electricity lines company has secured naming rights for the facility, which will be known as the Network Waitaki Event Centre, signing a 10-year, $2.5 million deal with the Waitaki Event Centre Trust and Waitaki District Council.
Network Waitaki chief executive Geoff Douch said sponsorship opportunities on this scale did not come up often, and the timing was perfect for the company.
‘‘We have had two exceptional years of business performance and are in a good position to contribute to this fantastic community facility,’’ Mr Douch said.
Network Waitaki had a proud history of supporting the community and giving back through its annual power bill discount scheme, sponsorship programmes, and through scholarships and training opportunities for local people, he said.
‘‘This is just another way in which we can help power our community.’’
The sponsorship consists of an upfront payment once construction starts and an ongoing contribution over 10 years.
Network Waitaki chairman Chris Dennison said the company was proud to support a project that would bring so many benefits to Oamaru and the wider Waitaki district.
‘‘This sponsorship reaches a large part of the community and our customers, and many of the sports and cultural groups who we already sponsor will be users of this facility,’’ Mr Dennison said.
‘‘It will also be a real drawcard to bring sporting and cultural events to the Waitaki region.’’
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said securing naming rights was a ‘‘major milestone’’ and he thanked Network Waitaki for backing the project.
‘‘It’s another extension of the good relationship that the council has with Network Waitaki, and I think, along with the other sponsorships, this is going to help make sure that we’ve got a really good quality facility that’s going to serve the community for years to come.’’
Waitaki Event Centre Trust chairman Kevin Malcolm said the trust had been searching for a naming rights sponsor that was financially strong and community minded — and Network Waitaki ticked both boxes.
‘‘It was also very important, apart from the financial strength, whoever we gave this opportunity to had the ability to maintain their current community support and have this funding of the Waitaki Event Centre as an addition to what they were already doing,’’ Mr Malcolm said
More than $19 million has now been committed to the $30 million project, including the council’s $10 million contribution, Doug and Donna Hurst’s $5 million pledge, and LJ Hooker Oamaru and Veterinary Centre Oamaru’s ‘‘significant’’ donations.
‘‘We’re getting really good community support,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve got [other] very keen businesses working with us at the moment on significant sponsorship deals around other parts of the event centre.’’
He hoped to have between $20 million and $22 million secured before submitting funding applications for major lottery and community trust grants.
Next month, the trust would meet with representatives from 28 sporting and cultural groups to discuss concept plans, so they could be finalised and the tender process for construction could get under way.
To keep the project on track for a May 2024 opening, for the start of the netball season, ground at Centennial Park would need to be broken by November this year, Mr Malcolm said.