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Friday
Mar272015

Thames Indoor Sports Facility (Zoom Zone)

Another presser today detailing the progress to date on this facility, along with access to a extremely detailed plans prepared by Glen Brebner.

Readers here are referred back to my previous post on the subject when the project document went to Council on 25 June 2014. I only wish to deal with one issue arising from today’s presser – that relating to fund-raising. Here is the relevant comment from my earlier post:

The fund-raising is to be done as one deal with the skate-park, and Rhodes Park grandstand spread over five years totalling $445k, but the actual target is to be $750k which should give them all a great deal to think about. Actually, it is pretty modest when compared with the fund-raising efforts in other centres, but the fund-raising guru - Steve Bramley (SGL Group) thinks that it is reasonable given the socio-economic status of the town - good one Steve!

Here is the make-up of the high-powered Funding Committee listed in the earlier project document : Chair – Mary Hamilton,TCDC Project Manager – Simon Stevens TCDC Support – Marlene Perry Committee – Peter Richardson, Vaughan DeGroen, Shaun Richards Consultant – Steve Bramley.

This is reference to the progress of fund-raising in today’s presser:

The community has pledged $310,000 so far toward the Active Thames 2018 programme for the Skate Park, Thames Indoor Sports Facility and the Rhodes Park upgrade.

There seems to be a shortfall here – from 25 June 2014 to 25 March 2015 this Fund raising Committee appears to have made less than auspicious progress towards meeting its target – and remember these are pledges – not money in the bank! It does not appear a great deal in view of the fact that Zoom Zone has been in existence for over ten years, and has had the benefit a considerable publicity over the years. 

I draw attention to this matter because Council was given assurances that fundraising towards the target would proceed rapidly, and that there should be no problem meeting this target. Mayor Leach made it quite clear at that time that commencement of the project was dependent on the target being achieved.

The appointment of the professional fund-raiser (Steve Bramley) was part of the whole deal, and he was to be well supported by the members of the Committee, it was said.  But the target appears elusive.

I trust that this lack of progress does not portend further attempts to access even more of the future income of the TUGPRA Account. Already, the amount accessed has risen from $2.14m to $2.5m or the basis that the Community Board “wishes to reduce loan funding therefore keeping the costs of the project lower than they would otherwise be.” (email communication from CFO Steve Baker dated 26 March 2015)  

My position in regard to this project should be clear to most readers by now. I don't wish to be a Jeremiah, or unnecessarily cause concern, but I have said right from the outset that support for the entire Zoom Zone project in this town was very narrowly based. They have mounted a splendid lobbying effort to secure the TUGPRA funding, but now the ball is in their court to secure the town support that it has always claimed.

Good luck, but please get on with it before you become too side-tracked by the lovely drawings that Greg Brebner has prepared. 

 

 

 

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