More funding options open up

By Victoria White

5 comments
Giblin Group director Jenni Giblin
Giblin Group director Jenni Giblin

If funding for the proposed mutli-use sports facility does not stack up it will not go ahead, maintains Napier mayor Bill Dalton.

Since 2014, the council has received assistance in this area by consultancy firm the Giblin Group, who have provided a range of services to the council including a revenue generation strategy, stakeholder consultation, social impact report, and corporate funding.

Recently they have been working to develop the detailed business case on the project.
After working with Hawke's Bay councils on funding, director Jenni Giblin said "from my point of view, a funding point of view, this is the most robust process that I've ever been involved with".

If approved, the estimated cost of the facility was around $20 million - $5.1m of which would be contributed to by council.

Its original cost estimate was $15m, but this had been raised due to additions to the design - including court space, and the raised velodrome.

"The design is intended to address the needs of the currently expanding sporting codes whilst retaining a high degree of flexibility as the community desire for different sporting and recreational activities evolves in the future," she said. "This has resulted in additional cost to the project but provides greater benefits."

As it was now a multi-use facility, more funding opportunities were opened up to council. This included applying to the central significant projects, and community facilities funds for $5m and $750,000 respectively.

They would also apply for $1.29m from gaming trusts, and $465,000 from community and private trusts.

It was hoped around $7.35m would come from corporate partnerships. They had developed a scale of corporate funding opportunities - from naming rights, to smaller levels - so people could contribute on a range of different funding brackets.

"We haven't identified the amount of money sort of sitting around in isolation, we've rung these funders," Ms Giblin said.

"They haven't said 'yes you're definitely going to get the money but they've given us a ball park indication of what we should aim for."

At the end of the process, Ms Giblin said the council would ask for "a small amount" through community fundraising of $150,000.

Mr Dalton said while they were not going to be reliant on this element, if residents contributed they would feel they had "bought into the project".

Although some funders had indicated they would contribute, they would not come on board until the detailed design process was under way.

"Until you're a certain way down the track, funders won't commit because they don't know if the project's definitely happening," Ms Giblin said, "but certainly, all the conversations we've been having have been really, really, positive."

Mr Dalton gave an "absolute undertaking" that if the project could not be funded council would not do it.

It was estimated the annual upkeep of the facility would be around $180,000 but through its range of uses it was thought the facility would generate $3.6m of economic benefit annually.

Through the business case, the consulting firm had been able to engage with sporting groups and other key stakeholders in the community to get their feedback. This enabled them to refine the project, and make changes to ensure it was meeting the need in the community.

"While it's taken longer than the community may have liked, or we may have liked, it actually been a really beneficial thing to do," she said.

"I think we've now gotten to an end point where we're designed a facility that is going to meet the needs of the community, and we are really plugging a gap that's needed."

Ms Giblin thought the council was "leading the way" by using the Treasury better business case model to determine the project's feasibility.

"This model is far more robust and in-depth than a feasibility study and consequently it takes significantly more time to deliver," she said, adding it did take time and resources, but the end product was "far more compelling than a feasibility study".

They had, and would continue to engage with stakeholders from iwi, local and national sport management groups, to schools across Hawke's Bay.

Sporting codes from the Ramblers Cycling Cub to Hawke's Bay Rugby were also engaged.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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