Hokitika axed from Sport West Coast

By Janna Sherman

The Hokitika arm of Sport Canterbury West Coast has been dissolved, with the removal of Westland District Council funding the final nail in the coffin.
Sport Canterbury West Coast lost its $31,000 contribution from the council when it removed the funding allotment for the Hokitika branch from this year’s draft annual plan.
Sport Canterbury chief executive Julyan Falloon said the money was a “significant investment” for the branch, which employed one full-time co-ordinator to deliver sporting programmes and events through Westland, including a school holiday programme.
As well as losing the Westland District Council investment, the annual amount received from the Grey District Council was also not growing at a time when operational costs were going up.
“The reality is on the Coast our expenses are increasing with the cost of petrol, IT and phones all increasing, but our income is not.
“We have had to make some tough calls. If the Westland District Council funding had been withdrawn in isolation ... we could have sustained it but the two factors together, no.”
Mr Falloon said work opportunities had been extended for the affected full-time staff member, Pavel Bares, but they were in Christchurch.
The scheduled school holiday programme run through Sport West Coast will continue to run this week.
As the organisation received funding from the Ministry of Social Development to deliver the holiday programmes they should not suffer in the long-term, he said.
Part-time staff could travel over to Hoktitika to run the programmes in future.
“The programmes are commercially viable for us. If we cut activities that are actually making us a dollar then we are going backwards further.”
The disestablished Hokitika office — in the Westland District Council building, will close one month from today.
Council chief executive Tanya Winter said the funding cut had been forced by the council’s own financial position.
However, the council would continue to make the office space available until Sport Canterbury advised it was no longer needed.