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CCH approves support for economic development

Chch City Council approves support for economic development

Christchurch City Council will allocate about $7.3 million of interest earned from its Capital Endowment Fund over the next three years on a variety of projects and organisations to encourage economic development.

The fund was set up in April 2001 with $75 million -- the council $B!G (Js share of proceeds from the sale by Orion of a North Island gas company. Managed so that its capital growth continues to match or exceed the rate of inflation, additional interest from the fund is split 70/30 between economic development and civic/community projects.
Final decisions about the civic and community allocation, worth about $3.5m over three years, will be made later in the year although councillors have indicated they intend some of it will be used to help pay for community facilities.

The 70 per cent allocated to economic development initiatives support council $B!G (Js goals and objectives, including promoting economic development, encouraging business that provides high-value jobs, working with business and education to attract and train people in skills that business needs and attracting skilled workers.

Distribution from the fund is now three-yearly, in the same way that top-line council planning is done once every three years, and councillors last week considered a report recommending allocations for the economic development portion - worth about $2.4m a year, or $7.3m in total.

They agreed to provide $800,000 for projects run by Christchurch and Canterbury Marketing (CCM), $1.53m to further develop and implement projects being managed by the Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC), up to $350,000 to Ferrymead Park Ltd to develop a commercial visitor experience at Ferrymead Historic Park that will complement other private visitor experiences there and up to $900,000 to support the NZPGA Championship golf tournament at Clearwater. About $220,000 will be kept for future decisions.

The balance, $3.2m, goes to the Canterbury Economic Development Fund. This is managed by CDC and has been successful in helping new ventures get started. In many cases the fund makes loans or takes equity in the ventures it supports and has begun earning income from dividends and interest payments on loans.

The CCM grant includes $100,000 in the coming year for Banks Peninsula marketing and to assist in plans to support the council $B!G (Js visitor and events strategies.

The NZPGA is tied into the professional golf associations of the United States and Australasia. In supporting it, the council receives significant returns in terms of coverage, international exposure, financial benefit for the city and benefits for the sport. As such, it fits well with the objectives the council has for the fund.

The world-class event showcases the city and is a strong visitor attractor. Research around last summer $B!G (Js championship indicated it had a $5.7m economic impact (based on a total spend of $3.8m), generated 28 hours of international TV coverage, drew about 2300 visitors. About 24,000 attended the event, almost all local people who did not have to pay.

Mayor Garry Moore says, "Our Council has a proud tradition of being enterprising and getting in behind community initiatives that create jobs. We as a community need to have a broad-based economy which gives our children and our children's children a future. One part of our economic development is to promote our city as a highly desirable place to live, to visit and to play.

"The only international coverage we have is the international PGA golf tournament. I am delighted that the council has decided to continue supporting this event, which the ratepayers of Christchurch can attend for free."


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