The Queenstown Memorial Hall Trust is to ask the Council for a larger contribution following advice from the Lottery Community Facilities Fund.
The trust has raised more than two thirds of the $3 million budget for the much-needed upgrade of the Memorial Hall.
The Lottery Community Facilities Fund has turned down its request for an $800,000 grant, saying that despite a "very strong application that ticked all our boxes,” Queenstown Lakes District Council had to put more of its own funding into the project before Lotteries would do so.
A disappointed trust chair Cath Gilmour said Lotteries had specifically let the trust know ahead of the usual schedule to encourage trustees to reapply, if they could gain further Council support in time for the July 11 application round.
“We hope Council will provide us with the support we need to reapply. There is still every reason for us to be in go ahead mode - we have more than $2.2 million in hand and huge community support. Delaying this vital upgrade would only add to the project’s and community’s costs - especially once the Christchurch rebuild starts happening."
Central Lakes Trust has contributed $1 million the Community Trust of Southland $400,000 and the Queenstown community has already given over $300,000 in donations and in-kind contributions.
"The 32 letters of support and huge support of everyone who has used, worked or performed in the hall towards our fundraisers shows how much this project is needed. The support from CLT and CTOS - both of whom gave us the full amount requested - shows they see it as viable, doable and necessary," Ms Gilmour said.
The trust resolved at its meeting on Monday (July 2) to ask QLDC for extra funding and a bridging loan to the trust to ensure the project goes ahead within the planned timeframes. An extraordinary Council meeting has been called for Tuesday, July 10, at 3 PM, in council Chambers.
“The trust is committed to keeping on fundraising - we have written more grant applications, will keep seeking pledges and support and have more fundraisers planned.”
Ms Gilmour, who is also a councillor, said Council's commitment to date of $492,000 was only equal to the Hall’s planned capital upgrade schedule.
"And some of this is seriously underestimated. I believe that Council is going to need to commit some more funds to improve what is its asset. It's worth remembering that the last time the Hall was upgraded, in 1998, the entire cost fell on ratepayers."
Trust deputy chair Steve Wilde, who instigated the upgrade proposal two years ago, urged both Council and community to help. “I had anticipated locals were going to have to work hard to do this, and that's what we're going to do. You can't just sit back and expect funding agencies to stump up all the cash.”
Lotteries’ decision reinforced the trust's belief that Queenstown can't afford a bigger, purpose-built theatre now. "There is no money for that and this proves it. Times are tough," he said.
Tenders close tomorrow (Friday, July 6), after tenderers called for extension of time from the previous deadline of last Friday.
“The trust wants to thank everyone who has already shown their support for the upgrade - and reminds anyone who hasn't yet… please get in touch,” Ms Gilmour said.