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Community groups seek operational funding

The Wānaka App

Staff Reporters

13 May 2024, 5:06 PM

Community groups seek operational funding The Wānaka Project, a collective of local musicians, is seeking QLDC community funding.

A need for operational funding was the most common request by community groups seeking financial support from Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC).


At an informal hearing held at the Luggate Memorial Hall yesterday (Monday May 13), the district’s elected representatives listened to pleas for a share of QLDC’s annual communities grants.



The council has set aside over $1.8M for community grants this year but with requests from 94 applicants (many for tens of thousands of dollars) it is likely a good number of the community organisations will be disappointed.


The most common financial support requested was for operational expenses to cover staff wages and administration costs, to maintain or purchase equipment and software, and to support projects and outreach programmes.


Unlike other community grants providers which only fund specific, budgeted projects, QLDC’s community grants can be directed to cover day-to-day operational expenses.


Seventeen applicants were given five minutes each to present their cases for funding at the hearing. 



Many were experienced applicants who have made numerous annual submissions for funding in the past, such as the Upper Clutha Tracks Trust, Wānaka Community Link and Te Kākano Aotearoa. 


Others were newly established groups looking for funding to cover potential opportunities for growth, such as the Wānaka Project - a collective of local musicians building a network to support each other “on their journey to becoming performing artists”. 


The Wānaka Project asked for $5,000 in operational funding, for each of the next three years, to support musicians with travel expenses, to go towards new sound and lighting equipment, and “we’re looking at potential options for a new rehearsal space”,  Wānaka Project member Summer Ash said.


It’s a new platform for local musicians and although they have performed an average of three paying gigs a week, that barely covers the cost of paying the musicians and current equipment, she said.


“It’s always a bit tricky applying for funding for the first time so we’re hoping we got it right, fingers crossed,” she said.



Ruby Island Management Committee (RIMC) member Michèle Lacroix also presented her case for funding with a question about the committee’s ongoing costs for maintaining the island’s toilets and BBQ facilities.


Michèle said RIMC started discussions with QLDC staff in September 2023 for the council to assume the costs and responsibility for these assets (including airlifting the island’s Norski toilet to be emptied at the end of each summer) as it does at other community reserves.


The airlift costs alone had increased from $2,000 to $3,500, she said. 


Councillor Cody Tucker asked Michelle if RIMC had any plans to restore the island’s famous dance floor (originally built in the late 1920’s for cabaret nights).


“Why not,” she said, laughing. “It would cost a lot of money but it would be great.”


A hearing for Queenstown based applicants is underway today, and next week councillors will meet to further discuss the community grants’ submissions. Councillors will be asked to approve the recommended list of successful recipients at the full council meeting on June 27. 


PHOTO: Supplied