Nelson’s Trafalgar Centre. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Trafalgar Centre usage comes under fire

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Nelson City Council say they are looking at ways to reduce costs for hirers of the Trafalgar Centre after its low occupancy rates were revealed last week.

Figures revealed by councillor Mel Courtney have shown that in the 480 days from 8 April 2017 until 31 July 2018, the main arena was used 8.65 days, the northern extension was used 41.50 days and the full venue was used 73.50 days

The venue fully re-opened to hirers in April 2017 after an extensive $16.6 million redevelopment. It was closed in 2013 due to earthquake risk.

Since it reopened there have been 75 individual bookings and 49,056 people attending them.

Roger Ball, council’s group manager community services, is defending the figures, saying they are still in the “rebuilding phase”.

“We are constantly looking at ways to reduce the cost to the hirer.”

He also says the figures are not a true reflection on its usage, as they don’t include set-up and pack-down days.

“A one-day event using the main arena will have the event organiser using the venue for at least three days, and sometimes up to a week, depending on what is involved. Just because the venue isn’t open to the public, doesn’t mean it’s not being used in preparation for an event.”

He expects numbers to increase over the next few years as they develop the marketing of the venue.

“The priority for marketing the Trafalgar Centre since its reopening has been to develop the quality of the customer service onsite and improve the professional infrastructure inside the facility to match the industry standards across New Zealand. ”

“Priority has also been given to marketing nationally to conference organisers who need to plan up to three years in advance when choosing a venue.”