Events centre proposal raises a number of questions - 24/05/2007by Deputy Mayor Dot McKinnon
Cr Philippa Baker-Hogan tabled the Wanganui Velodrome Events Centre Feasibility Study this week at Council's Sport and Activity Committee meeting. The study goes further than 'putting a lid' on the velodrome. The proposed $10 million centre would be multi-use with the facilities and flexibility to cater for the widest range of sporting, cultural and high spectator appeal usage. The biggest question is – who is to pay for it?
But there are other questions.
If we were to have a 2500-3000 seat stadium and event centre, do we have the rest of the infrastructure in place in Wanganui to accommodate, feed and look after these people. With limited access to Wanganui by air, can we increase flights into Wanganui, and increase accessibility via other forms of public transport? What will be the effect of the new event centre on existing sports grounds and the Springvale stadium? Also will this project (if it goes to the next stage) compete with Council and community funds for the Heart of Wanganui cultural precinct (if it goes to the next stage)? There are lots of questions to be answered and another challenge for the Mayor, Councillors, ratepayers, sporting and arts communities. These issues must be included in a much larger impact study.
The Draft Strategy for Positive Ageing was also tabled this week at the Older People Forum. The paper focuses on income security, health, housing, safety, transport, mobility, access to information, participation and the promotion of positive ageing in Wanganui. It encapsulates many of the issues we associate with age. There are a number of action plans that need to be circulated amongst clubs, groups, individuals, schools and organisations in Wanganui so each might 'do their bit' to improve the lot of mature folk in our district. As we get older, we are more sympathetic to ageing issues and there are many health and cultural organisations that assist the aged (Grey Power, Age Concern, Alzheimers Society etc). But how sympathetic are our children and grandchildren to positive ageing, when we deify youth and the trappings of youth so much in our culture? I believe we need to reach organisations that are youth-oriented (YMCA, schools etc) and find ways that they might contribute to this positive ageing strategy. Then we would have a very valuable outcome.
I was saddened this week to read of the loss of 14 jobs with the closure of School Support Ltd. We do not want to lose skilled and valuable staff to Wellington. One of our biggest problems in Wanganui is obtaining skilled, stable and experienced staff. If you have some openings, fellow employers, here is a rare opportunity. I am sure many of them will be open to job offers.