Another Avantidome On The Way?
Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 3:29PM
Bill Barclay

The reaction in this District to the decision of the WRC to levy every rate-payer in this District for the Canbridge Avantidome appears likely to be repeated with the proposed new Founders Theatre in Hamilton.

A story in the Waikato Times yesterday makes it clear that the Hamilton City Council will be seeking $10m to subsidise their $30m contribution to the $73m cost of the theatre. 

"Theatre users won't be just from Hamilton, council says, so it hopes to get $10m of its $30m contribution from its neighbours.

The idea is a regional or sub-regional rate collected by Waikato Regional Council - like the one used to fund the Avantidrome in Cambridge"

It appears from the story that the Regional Mayor's Forum have "unanimously" backed the proposal, and that the proposal will go to our Council on 12 December when our Mayor will no doubt be able to explain her participation, if any, in this vote. The remainder is to be funded by philanthropic foundation Momentum Waikato - the Gallagher ('voice of reason') philanthropic vehicle.

"Mayor Andrew King recently said city rates needed to go up 16.5 per cent, so council's hoping a regional theatre rate will gather some cash from neighbouring councils."

WRC general manager venues Sean Murray said:

"There were mixed views at regional council, partly because its regional funding policy would spread the cost over a large area.

The debate is: is the new theatre more a sub-regional facility and not necessarily going to be a good service to the people of Taupō or Coromandel or wherever?

However, King said he was sure they would get a result."

Mayor King may be naively unaware of the reaction here at the time of the Avantidome decision. And remember that such funding will have to come from rates - no tricky resorting to 'depreciation reserves,' and borrowing for this baby!

I for one would be happy to consider helping to fund a Hamilton theatre when I hear that Hamiltonians are helping to fund say, a Regional Swimming Pool here in Thames. That seems unlikely!



Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (
See website for complete article licensing information.