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Funds Allocated For Convention-Centre Study

Auckland City Council is to spend up to $200,000 on a feasibility study for a convention centre in Auckland.

The study will look at the viability of a convention centre, either alongside the Aotea Centre or another suitable site in or near the central business district.

Recreation and Events Committee Chairperson, Scott Milne, says, "Joint council and convention-industry studies have found that the city is missing out on tens of millions of dollars in revenue because it lacks an international-standard venue for conventions."

Councillor Milne says the council will ask for private-sector interests to put forward their ideas for a centre, and indicate how they expect the council to be involved. Submissions from the private sector would need to be assessed for the March council meeting when decisions will be made on which projects will be included in the 2002/03 annual plan.

In another council initiative, at a special meeting on November 29, 2001, the Finance and Corporate Business Committee reconfirmed its commitment to an indoor arena at Quay Park. Councillor Milne expects to see some exciting initiatives in the bids from three short-listed proponents. This will allow the council to decide in March which, if any, of these bids is selected to proceed with, alongside decisions on a convention centre.

"Council is doing everything it can to ensure Auckland has the facilities to make certain we are an internationally competitive city. We will be in a good position to make a decision on these developments after we have received the results of both the arena phase two bids, and the submissions on a convention centre,” said Cr Milne.
Councillor Milne has said that with $50 million already budgeted in the annual plan 2000/2001 and provided for in the long-term financial strategy, the arena bids must be considered seriously. Any approved private sector partner would build, own and operate an arena for 20-30 years when it would revert to Auckland City Council ownership.

Cr Milne says this would be the best way to get an arena at least cost and with the least risk for the ratepayer.

ENDS

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