Think tank for Event Centre

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By Mick Jensen

Ashburton Trust Event Centre (ATEC) staff have been looking ahead and brainstorming ideas for the future of the community facility.

The staff think tank has focused on opportunities for the venue over the next 10 years and ideas and opportunities were suggested without financial or resource boundaries.

Staff considered potential development in areas such as theatre performance, education, corporate expansion, marketing, technical resources and equipment hire.

New ideas include getting involved in a performing arts festival, encouraging primary schools to make use of Event Centre rooms for school plays, creating an equipment hire department, operating a small cafe and retail area and establishing a business hub in the boardroom for travelling sales people.

Discussions also centred on developing education based opportunities, which will assist schools.

ATEC was more than “just a venue for hire” and fresh ideas were needed to develop a long term business plan that ensured the continued success of the venue, said ATEC manager Roger Farr.

Secondary funding options would be needed for some ideas.

“Personally, I’d love to see an annual performance art festival in town.

“Funding is going to be the biggest problem for that sort of thing, but sponsorship could be explored.”

Mr Farr said he was also keen to look at a joint venture approach with an arts organisation, such as Ashburton Art Gallery, and the development of a shared arts and culture vision with local groups.

Future ideas would be considered and developed further over the coming months and costs would be added to see if opportunities passed financial muster.

Auditorium bookings over the last year at ATEC were up 7 per cent, but usage was down and low in other hire rooms including the Bradford Room, Green Room and foyer.

Overall the venue was a well utilised facility, said Roger Farr.

Still to be audited accounts were showing a small operating profit for the last financial year of around $36,000.