Development Christchurch Limited (DCL), on behalf of Christchurch City Council, has agreed to invest further in the Christchurch Adventure Park so locals and visitors can continue to enjoy the popular facility.
The Port Hills fires caused extensive damage to the park and it has struggled to return to business-as-usual. As a result, the park indicated it could no longer continue to meet debt repayments as well as day-to-day operating costs.
Late last year, the park’s board announced its intention to seek additional capital from existing shareholders to repay debt, improve operations and attract more local visitors.
After careful consideration of the situation, the Council, through DCL, has agreed to fund a $4.995 million purchase of additional shares, in conjunction with the capital raised from other shareholders.
This means the Council’s $5 million loan shortfall guarantee put in place 2016 will no longer be required.
The purchase will raise DCL’s stake in the park from 14.29 per cent to 54.73 per cent. This will make the adventure park a Council Controlled Organisation, sitting as a subsidiary of DCL who will increase oversight of operations.
DCL Chief Executive Rob Hall says there was careful consideration of all the issues and financial implications over past months to allow the Council and the DCL Board to come to this decision.
“DCL has worked closely with the park’s Board and with the Council to ensure the best use of public funding and seek the right outcome for Christchurch,” Mr Hall says.
“Ultimately, the situation since the fires has meant the Council’s loan guarantee was at risk of being called. By taking the proactive decision to support the park, we achieve a better outcome for Christchurch.
“We acknowledge the efforts of park staff since the fires to get the facility up and running, and the ongoing loyalty of Canterbury visitors and regular patrons of the park.
“We are aware of plans to change the way the park operates, appeal to more locals and cater to growing tourism numbers expected in the city as new public facilities are opened. These changes will help to improve the performance of the park and attract more visitors,'' Mr Hall says.
The park intends to introduce new activities such as more fun beginner and family trails and facilities, promote more corporate and social events, introduce additional landscaping and plantings, and plan for new attractions such as sight-seeing facilities at the top of the chair lift, a new zip-line and trail experiences.