City councillors have ducked a call on a $78 million performance centre for the city, putting it off until the next ten year plan.
Committee chair Larry Baldock says the cost is too much to impose on ratepayers given that the city council is already looking at a new administration building and museum.
The motion was upheld by committee members but the non-voting members spoke against it.
The decision puts off making the call on the performance centre until the 2021/2031 ten year plan, sidelining it for at least three years until the current plan is reviewed.
Councillor Max Mason says the only way to save it, is for public to speak up for the performance centre in the upcoming long term plan public submission process.
While the city council cannot currently afford it, it remains open to proposals from Bay Venues Ltd or the Paul Adams inspired City Action Group to co-fund and lead the project at any time, says Larry.
The feasibility case undertaken on the performance venue shows there is a strong case for a larger venue, says Larry.
“The issue around the timing is where the problem sits. We hear the consultant's recommended it is in the next five years, but as we consider the obligations we have going forward with all of the challenges in this current LTP we do not, I do not feel that we can responsibly advance this project at this time, though we hope it does get advanced.”
Councillor Gail McIntosh says the council's current Long Term Plan is ‘significant' and they don't need to go down the track with another $40 million.
“By putting the land aside and putting in grass, there's not going to be a big complaint if we dig it up to put a performance centre on it,” says Gail.
“We like the idea, but just not in this three years. In five years' time we might end up with a bigger one.”
With the new government stating it is going to be putting a billion dollars into the regions each year, there could be a change in financing, says Gail.
“This is the sensible and pragmatic resolution at this time in regards the performance venue.”
Councillor Steve Morris says the pressure the council is under with its long term plan budget is symptomatic of the way council's get funding by billing property owners twice a year.
“The rating system is no longer sustainable in terms of funding cities,” says Steve. “It's a challenge we not only face ourselves, but other councils do, particularly the other growth councils.
“The days of funding cities and amenities by a couple of invoices to property owners each year is no longer sustainable. This is in fact a victim.”
Councillor Max Mason says they have a budget coming up that is more than they can afford and there are going to have to be some tough cuts.
“I guess what we are doing is trying to gauge the mood of the public with the LTP, and we think this probably wouldn't get through,” says Max.
“This is a challenge to the community. If they do want to see a performance centre of this size and scale, they should come to the Long Term Plan.”