i-Site futures debated

The Te Awamutu i-Site.

7am Update

Waipā District Council has cut its funding two the i-Sites in Cambridge and Te Awamutu.

Both Destination Cambridge and Destination Te Awamutu were given the news yesterday.

Earlier in the week, the decision was up in the air with district councillors heading behind closed doors to discuss future funding.

Print story:

A decision whether to withdraw the council’s annual contribution to Destination Cambridge and Destination Te Awamutu – $157,000 each this financial year – was expected to be made after The News went to press.

It had first been discussed by councillors at a confidential workshop last month.

Roger Gordon

But a late bid by Roger Gordon to have the item pulled from the public excluded section of the Service Delivery committee on Tuesday saw council staff scrambling for a response to his point of order.

Governance manager Jo Gread shut Gordon down as he asked why the motion had changed from one section of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act to another after the agenda had been published.

The original reason was to protect information which was subject to an obligation of confidence. It became to protect the privacy of natural persons because it indirectly affected the employment of i-Site staff.

For that reason, the paper, which indirectly affects their employment, should not be discussed, he said.

Jo Gread, Governance Manager.

Gread provided committee chair Clare St Pierre with a statement to read out before the committee went into public excluded.

The statement said because the i-Site report was confidential, it was “not appropriate” for members to discuss any of its content in public.

Changing the section of the act was not new information, she said, and did not affect the content of the report.

Committee members could vote against going into public excluded, which was the resolution at hand, she said.

That is what Gordon ended up doing.

Clare St Pierre

Destination Cambridge and Destination Te Awamutu (previously Te Awamutu Community Public Relations Organisation) are incorporated societies and have known for more than two years that their futures were precarious.

A 2021 review by Rob MacIntyre of Destination Planning said the council was supporting multiple organisations to deliver visitor information.

Earlier this year the council extended the two contracts through to June 30 next year.

The i-Sites provide tourism and visitor information in both towns through a service level agreement with the national i-Site organisation.

They supplement their incomes through ticket and retail sales.

Bea Schiller

Meanwhile, Te Awamutu isite manager Bea Schiller has told The News of a new website – www.teawamutu.nz – which is being launched to further promote Te Awamutu and its surrounding areas as a tourist destination.

 

Destination Cambridge’s i-Site staff, from left: Vicki Ewing, Seiko Wilson, Lynda Millington, Bev Rogers, Ruth Crampton, Patrick Clarke, Rachael Colgan, Ivy Drouwer. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

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