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Events centre not money maker

Revenue made by the Carterton Events Centre is growing, but so to are the operating and building maintenance costs. PHOTO/FILE

CHELSEA BOYLE

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Recent reports have praised the leap forwards the Carterton Events Centre has made earning more revenue.

But its running costs are more than it makes and there is no sign of that changing anytime soon.

The centre has gained $10,000 in revenue when the last two financial years are compared but in that time, an extra $14,000 was poured into building costs and operating costs to achieve that result.

That left a shortfall of $4000.

Carterton District Council chief executive Jane Davis said the events centre would always need significant ratepayer and community contributions to keep it going. It would never be run like a commercial entity.

“The cost of the whole events centre is really high, we will never come close to meeting the cost because that’s not what the events centre is about,” she said.

The council did want to grow the revenue though by increasing the number of commercial users.

“Where we want to grow is in the commercial use – a year ago, the council gave us the mandate to go ahead and start promoting and getting a lot more use, particularly of the auditorium,” she said.

“While the numbers don’t look overly impressive at the moment, that’s just the first year.

“We had to invest to get a few things up and going – we have bought little bits of equipment and upgraded some of our equipment to make us more marketable.

“We started doing the marketing, we know already we are getting a lot new events that we haven’t had before so what we are expecting over the next year is revenue starting to increase.”

The council’s community services manager Carolyn McKenzie said the investment in marketing strategy was not always going to show immediately.

The goal was to increase commercial bookings in the auditorium, and minimise the effect on the ratepayer, she said.

More targeted marketing towards Wellington and Manawatu would be pursued.

“They are the biggest visitors to Wairarapa.”

Ms McKenzie was pleased with the way the centre was going.

“These things are not designed to make money or break even,” she said.

It was doing what it was designed to do, she said.

“The annual revenue is going up, that’s what we need it to be doing.”

District councillor Tracey O’Callaghan, who did the original performance review on the events centre, said the costs looked reasonable and there was a working balance between community and commercial events.

“I don’t think there is anything more they could do at this stage, because it could be at the detriment of the community groups.”

In future, she would like to see more commercial bookings.

Commercial bookings are great for the whole area because there will be more people coming into town spending money in the shops, Ms O’Callaghan said.

“I’m pleased we are now getting an annual report, and we’ll be looking at like for like, year on year, so we will be able to track it,” she said.

“Fundamentally, it’s there as a community resource and as long as the community is enjoying it, which clearly they are, then that’s fantastic.”

 

 

 

 

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