INDEPENDENT NEWS

Convention Centre - Location And Viability

Published: Tue 7 Aug 2001 02:19 PM
Convention Centre Study To Focus On Location And Viability
The much-debated location and size of a new purpose-built convention centre for Auckland should become clearer after further studies are jointly funded by Auckland City and the convention industry.
The studies will determine the best location, size and market viability of a new centre.
A convention centre working party of the City Attractions Committee has been set-up to work with Council officers and the industry to get a final resolution about the site of the proposed convention centre and undertaking further specific market analysis to verify the centre’s viability.
The chairperson of the committee, Councillor Victoria Carter, said the question of the centre being in or outside the CBD, and whether or not a new facility would make Auckland sufficiently attractive as a destination for international convention organisers, had yet to be determined. The study outcomes would influence any Council decision to consider becoming financially involved.
While there had been a general consensus for the convention centre to be at one of a number of sites within the CBD, recent proposals submitted by the Auckland Trotting Club and the New Zealand Expo Centre, both located at Greenlane, also had to be considered.
“While non-CBD proposals have not generally met with the approval of the convention and tourism industries, we have a duty to give these two recent approaches due consideration,” said Councillor Carter.
“However, of more significance is the proposed market study. The committee wants to establish with international convention organisers whether or not Auckland would be included on their list of venues on a regular basis if we had a 4,000 square metre facility capable of hosting 2500 people.”
Councillor Carter said this question of frequency of large conventions was crucial to the role of the Council in becoming involved in a major convention centre.
She said that, despite all the studies done by the convention, tourism and hospitality industries – and the Council’s own studies – there was insufficient research specifically targeting this key question.
“This is crucial to the whole question of a new convention centre. All the studies to date indicate that Auckland desperately needs a bigger convention centre, but if convention business from overseas will not be frequently attracted to Auckland even with a new centre, then we have to look at who should provide the facility and bear the risks. ”
In Australia, such facilities are typically funded and owned by state governments.
Councillor Carter said the questions of site and size will be the centre of focus for herself and fellow working party councillors Kay McKelvie and David Hay.
The committee also recommended that – subject to the outcome of the market analysis – officers prepare and scope exploratory design studies of options within the Aotea precinct and review these with the working party.
ENDS

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