Corporate events to drive Carterton hub

By Alisa Yong alisa.yong@age.co.nz -
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Carterton Events Centre community development manager Carolyn McKenzie outside the asset the district council is seeking to make more profitable. PHOTO/FILE
Carterton Events Centre community development manager Carolyn McKenzie outside the asset the district council is seeking to make more profitable. PHOTO/FILE

The drive to increase the profitability of the Carterton Events Centre means community groups could be temporarily relocated to other venues if their meetings clash with commercial bookings.

Following a review of the centre's management which showed it brought in revenue of about $65,000 a year as opposed to the $90,000 initially estimated, council is seeking to increase corporate bookings and conferences held at the centre.

Carterton District Council chief executive Jane Davis said if the Events Centre became busier as was hoped, it was possible there could be clashes with existing community groups that hold regular meetings there.

"If we've got a major conference and they [the conference] are using the auditorium and they need break-out rooms, we want to be able to have that offering."

The council would take responsibility for finding an alternative venue for the community group if this happened, Ms Davis said.

"We don't expect people to have to find an alternative space."

Existing users of the Event Centre include a book club, St John, youth group R2R, Limelight Theatre, Age Concern, Scouts and a parenting education group.

Council staff would be working to build better relationships with other venues in the town so there were more alternative spaces available for use, she said.

Clashes at the moment were "very rare" so no groups had so far been relocated.

"We aren't actually marketing it so we are not having a lot of people coming to us to use it.

"We want to be in the position where we do have to move people around."

The council was keen to see more health organisations using the Plunket rooms, she said.

The auditorium was the most under-utilised asset and could be booked by corporate groups separately, but the council wanted to be able to offer additional spaces, such as break-out rooms, if required.

"The reality is that we've got the Events Centre not being used more than half the time and we want to change that."

The initial revenue estimate of $90,000 was achievable, she said.

Bringing extra revenue to the centre would benefit the district, she said.

"What we need is a lot more vitality and things happening in Carterton."

The council is hiring a marketing and communications co-ordinator, who will be proactively seeking more revenue for the centre, Ms Davis said.

This new position will replace the events and project co-ordinator role now filled by Shelley Paget, who finishes with the council at the end of the month.

Community development manager Carolyn McKenzie said the Events Centre was starting to "get its name out there" and its partnership with the Copthorne Hotel was proving beneficial.

"I think that what we are looking at is increasing commercial usage of the Events Centre so it's not sitting empty. It's not about moving the community groups out -- it's about working together so that all users are accommodated."

The council would be working with the regular users of the Events Centre to make sure there was a space for everyone, Ms McKenzie said.

A new booking system had recently been started, which would allow the council to collect data on how many commercial and community bookings it had taken.

Commercial bookings included a possible two-day conference in August and the Stihl conference next year.

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