Easter weekend reminded us what happens when we don’t host a major concert like Ed Sheeran – for a start we lose many of our own people to other centres and second we miss that vibe that comes with the excitement of the concert and the economic benefits it brings.
But it’s not only concerts that bring financial benefits to a city.
There are many events that can create real value for the city.
I’m afraid I overstated the economic benefits of the Golden Oldies Sports Celebration 2018 in last week’s column. That’s the trouble when you rely on “Mr Google” working to a tight deadline in a short week.
But that being said, there are still significant benefits in bringing more than 5000 people from 16 countries to Christchurch over a four-week period to play six different sports. The more fun they have, the more likely it is that they and their friends will return.
And there is a little snippet that I didn’t realise until I was talking to one of the organisers and one of the ambassadors, Sir Bob Charles, and that is that at 4pm next Friday the 13th, at the end of the golfing week, the 20 top players of the week will tee off for a shot at the hole-in-one of more than 150m for $1 million. Now I haven’t got that number wrong. And I’m definitely going to watch – how exciting – imagine if someone actually does it?
But back to the economic benefits of events, this is something we are asking for feedback on in our Long Term Plan. We have developed a Major Events Strategy, but to gain the benefits they can bring, we need to invest in attracting the events and in the facilities to host them. Locals have always loved the opportunity to get out and enjoy great events – they don’t call Canterbury the sporting capital of New Zealand for nothing. And we’re not just spectators either; we’re participants; we love to get involved. So great events not only attract visitors, who will always want to see more of the region, they are great for those of us who live here.
So how should we make this sort of commitment? I know there has been commentary on the need to have a decision on the stadium. We need to ask some searching questions about what we can afford as a region, and how we can future proof what we build for a range of purposes, not just sport. We are not proposing changes in this LTP, but I’m sure we will need to consult on it sooner rather than later. One of the questions we are asking in this year’s LTP, however, is “what do you think of the council providing additional funding to ChristchurchNZ so that it can bid for major events on behalf of the city, support new events through sponsorship and test the feasibility?” I would encourage you to give this some thought.
You have until 5pm, Friday, April 13 to submit on the draft Long Term Plan. See details on the have your say page on the city council website – https://ccc.govt.nz/the-council/consultations-and-submissions/haveyoursay/show/125 – or call into one of our libraries or service centres.
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