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Te Awamutu i-Site

The Te Awamutu i-Site will continue as it is for another year while Waipā District Council reviews how future funding looks.

Te Awamutu Community Public Relations Organisation and Destination Cambridge are incorporated societies which run the i-Sites in Gorst Avenue and the Cambridge Town Hall.

Service level agreements between the council and two i-Sites were reviewed in 2021 with both given 18 months grace – which ends on June 30 – to define their promotional roles.

Councillors wanted to know whether they were getting value for money from their investment in the i-Sites and avoid duplication of services with Hamilton-Waikato Tourism.

Council’s contribution then was $138,280 a year for each site.

Customer and Community Services group manager Sally Sheedy told The News she was in the process of extending the current service level agreement to next year. A decision on future funding would be made sometime during that period.

The council will now pay each site $147,868 and continue its funding of Hamilton-Waikato Tourism. This financial year the organisation will get $171,864.

A review by Rob MacIntyre of Destination Planning Ltd, released in 2021, suggested it was not clear what the boundaries of responsibility were between Hamilton-Waikato Tourism and the i-Sites.

The council was supporting multiple organisations to deliver visitor information, he found.

The situation in Te Awamutu is a lot simpler than in Cambridge where there it faces an uncertain future with the resignation of its chief executive, the loss of a major income stream and indecision about future council funding.

Michelle ‘Miff’ Macdiarmid has resigned from Destination Cambridge, the organisation which operates the i-Site.

Sources suggest one of the major reasons behind her decision to leave after five years is funding uncertainty.

She would not comment on that, referring The News to a statement she made to the organisation’s members on Monday.

The Cambridge Town Hall Trust is taking over bookings for the hall from Destination Cambridge on July 1.

The council also paid Destination Cambridge a management fee to take Town Hall bookings – $19,100 last financial year – and covered the rent. Those will no longer be paid.

Revenue from the hall in a Covid-impacted year was nearly $17,000 – well down on 2018’s $30,000.

Town Hall Trust chair Kirsty Johnson said collecting rent from Destination Cambridge was one of the things being considered towards making the hall a more commercially viable community asset.

This includes seeking a market valuation for the space occupied by Destination Cambridge.

“No decisions have been made and we will be working with Destination Cambridge and the council before taking any further steps,” she said.

A source told The News the organisation was determined to continue its operations in Cambridge having got over the humps presented by Covid since March 2020. Retail sales, Covid business payments and wage subsidies have helped it get through the tough times and finish with a $40,000 surplus at the end of the financial year in June last year.

It would continue to focus on promoting Cambridge, the source said.

The News understands Ruth Crampton, named as Destination Cambridge chief executive this week, is on a short term contract pending the various reviews.

Crampton was Marketing and Communications director at St Peter’s School in Cambridge until recently.

  • An earlier version of this story said Destination Cambridge and Destination Te Awamutu are charitable trusts. They are incorporated societies.

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