Star roles for tourism in city plans

One proposed option for the Tauranga Visitor Centre. Credit: Tauranga Council

Tourism centrepieces are at the heart of fresh annual plans for both Wellington and Tauranga.

The capital’s 2017/18 Draft Annual Plan delivers on Mayor Justin Lester’s promise to invest $500,000 in arts and culture, confirming it will introduce a Matariki festival and an outdoor event series.

The draft plan, which opened to public submission yesterday, does not go into detail about the proposed public events but states they aim to “draw significant audiences to Wellington and create opportunities for creative jobs and talent to thrive”.

It adds that they will also support a unique experience for locals and visitors and “will also help fill winter gaps in the current arts and cultural calendar”.

The two initiatives expanding Wellington’s arts and cultural programme will cost around $500,000, which will be funded from the City Growth Fund and other areas.

There will be no impact on rates for residents.

Funding for the Movie Museum has been “re-phased”. Credit: Wellington City Council

However, the draft annual plan also reveals some longer-term projects, including the city’s $150m Movie Museum and Convention Centre, have been “re-phased”.

Council chief executive, Kevin Lavery, said: “The Kaikoura earthquake in November has also resulted in a heightened focus on resilience. For this reason, we have pushed out some major capital projects.”

This will see investments of $31.5m earmarked for the Movie Museum and an additional $23m for the convention centre pushed back so no capital funding is required for 2017/18.

The three-storey building, which will be located opposite the Te Papa museum and house a new convention centre on the top floor, is being built in partnership with movie makers Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor.

A confirmed timeframe for development was not included in the annual plan which said only that “final designs are underway with partners”.

Tauranga city’s new Draft Annual Plan for the same period also demonstrates the key role tourism plays to its economy by proposing to fund a new $5m visitor centre in Mount Maunganui.

The consultation document includes a concept design for an “iconic visitor information centre” to be located at Coronation Park.

It proposes to include $4m of funding raised via general and targeted rates in the budget, spread over two years, to deliver the centre by summer 2018/19.

Tourism Bay of Plenty and the council would investigate external funding options to make up the $1m shortfall for an “iconic” centre, and would revert to a “more basic design” if this was not secured.

Tourism is a rapidly growing economic sector for Tauranga. Visitor expenditure in the coastal Bay of Plenty averages $2.5m per day, with a total of $933m estimated visitor expenditure in 2016.

The annual plan added that a “well-designed, iconic Visitor Information Centres [will] give locals something to be proud of, and generate increased visitor expenditure”.

Public consultation on Tauranga City Council’s Draft Annual Plan for 2017 to 2018 is open until 5pm on April 20. Public engagement on Wellington’s annual plan runs from 18 April–19 May.

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