Ratepayers may be asked for velodrome funding

By Sophie Price

28 comments
Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Fenton Wilson
Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Fenton Wilson

Regional ratepayers could be asked to pay for the proposed velodrome, with their rates "critical" to the Napier City Council project, says the Giblin Group.

The group, which was commissioned by the NCC to prepare the Revenue Generation Strategy (RGS) portion of the Hawke's Bay Velodrome Indicative Business Case, states money from Hawke's Bay Regional Council (HBRC) will be "critical" if the multi-purpose facility is to go ahead.

"The Giblin Group assumed that based on the current total project cost of $15 million and the one-third model, the council and its partners would need to contribute $7 million to the project and meet any shortfall," the report reads. "HBRC, via the Regional Facilities Fund (RFF), have historically granted between $500,000 to $2.5 million to various regional projects including the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park and MTG."

Although the group acknowledges that the RFF has been drained, it notes the importance of due process for the NCC to engage and present to HBRC - especially if the Lottery Grants Board's Significant Projects Fund (SPF) should not be reopened.

"Other Hawke's Bay councils are not likely to commit financially given the level of benefit to their ratepayers but they should be engaged to ensure letters of support are provided for funding applications," the group reports. "Should the SPF not be reopened in 2015, HBRC funding would be critical."

According to the government's Community Matters website, while the SPF has been retained no allocation has been provided for the 2015/16 period.

While this was confirmed by a government spokesperson, the website does note that the reason for the retainment of the SPF is so the Lottery Grants Board could provide future allocations if required. In the January 2015 report the Giblin Group's RGS allotted $5,500,000 from the SPF to go towards the proposed facility and up to $2,000,000. The timeframe the group put on the latter monies was July last year, as yet nothing has been confirmed.

NCC chief executive Wayne Jack said the RGS for the multi-purpose velodrome was still being finalised, that the Giblin Group put forward some options such as the ones above at that point in time. He said the SPF funding was being reviewed and the council looking at "a variety of different sources" to fill this gap.

Mr Jack said the NCC was in discussions with the HBRC, saying "possibly, possibly not" on the regional council having to discuss any possible funding with ratepayers.

HBRC chairman Fenton Wilson said he has had brief discussions with both the Napier mayor Bill Dalton and the NCC chief executive Wayne Jack, but not to the level where money has been discussed.

"We haven't had that level of discussion - I am not saying that we won't have that sort of discussion, so I guess we will just wait and see what they come up with."

The chairman said as the RFF had been exhausted any regional council involvement will come, at the very minimum, after an exhaustive annual plan process.

"If we are going to proceed we will certainly be taking that level of spending to an annual plan process and we would really want to hear what the whole community has to say. To put that money up now we have got to go to the ratepayer and that is quite a conversation. So it is not quite as straight forward as applying for what we had as a facilities fund because we have basically exhausted it."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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