Council owned organisation facing $3.6M loss

Trustpower Arena was one of the many venues impacted by Covid-19 restrictions. Photo: SunLive/file.

Tauranga City Council owned organisation Bay Venues is facing a $3.6 million loss this year.

The organisation manages 24 venues across the city and has faced “significant challenges” from Covid restrictions.

Bay Venues CEO Chad Hooker and board chair Simon Clarke presented the financials to the commissioners at a council meeting on Monday as part of their half yearly report.

The forecasted loss for 2022 is $3.6 million, $1.56 million more than the organisation’s October prediction.

Bay Venues runs the council’s aquatic and sports facilities, community centres and halls and the Trustpower Arena and Stadium.

Total visits to the venues and facilities were also down by 34 per cent from July to December 2021 when compared to the same time period in 2020.

Hooker says the biggest impact to the bottom line is the inability to have events which are a “significant part” of the organisation’s income.

“It's been a challenging six months.

“We generate revenue not just from the venue hire around events, it’s the revenue from catering and audio visual services that we provide for those [as well].

“That’s hit us pretty hard and will continue to do so while we’re still at the red alert level setting.”

Bay Venues had a $1.26 million decline across the events, catering and audio-visual sectors of the business from July to December 2021.

Under the Covid-19 protection framework events and gatherings had attendance limits imposed, causing cancellations and postponements.

Bay Venues aquatic centres’ visitor numbers were down 25 per cent for July to December 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. Photo: SunLive/File.

There was also a lockdown and restrictions under the previous alert levels.

More than 50 events were cancelled, at a proposed revenue loss of $600,000, and cancellations continue with no significant bookings before June 2022, according to the half yearly report.

Impacted events for Bay Venues included the cancellation of the music festival Bay Dreams, postponement of the annual Women’s lifestyle Expo and the National Mustang Car convention – that was six years in the making.

The recent removal of restrictions on outdoor gathering are of little benefit to the organisation.

“While we can hold outdoor events that doesn’t help us heading into winter unfortunately,” says Hooker.

The requirement of vaccination passes for public facilities in Tauranga also caused a slight drop in visitor numbers for some facilities and five per cent staff turnover, the report states.

“We've spent a lot of time working with the government regulations.

“We had Covid vaccine passes introduced at quite short notice, and we had to respond to that very quickly, which the team did very successfully.

“Equally as quickly, we've been able to now take them away.

“We’re starting to see things coming back in the right direction, which is good, but we still have some challenges there.”

Hooker says looking at the budget for next financial year, they are seeing an improvement because of the expected move to the orange setting soon.

He says there will still be a “hangover” from the red setting around the logistics of getting events back up and running and when that would occur.

“We're working hard to manage costs and look at all options to try and minimise the impact, but it’s just the world we’re in at the moment.”

-Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

 




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2 Comments

@ morepork

Posted on 14-04-2022 15:23 | By Kancho

To be fair morepork this is an actual covid related loss. Unlike quite a lot of excuses for most everything. These venues had no ability to make income with the exhibition spaces like the home show and many others as crowds were banned . Likewise the other public venues where gatherings were not permitted. I stopped going to several events and even stopped my regular swim routines. Technically the venue’s couldn’t make a profit as usual so yes the costs of continuing is a council/ ratepayers bill. But they will pick up profitably soon . The swimming pools have had maintenance down which is a good time with minimal use timing. So all will be resolved

Don't worry...

Posted on 13-04-2022 14:16 | By morepork

Ratepayers will make it up...

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