Public Private Partnerships. Could they be an answer?

Lido Aquaplay

WhiteWater New Zealand believes Public Private Partnerships may prove to be a viable answer to the capital funding of attractions at aquatic centres over the coming decades, as local government faces increasing pressure to fund new infrastructure in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

‘Sustainability’ is no longer just a fashionable buzz-word, it’s now a real necessity and aquatic centres are big consumers of energy and water. Irrespective of how many customers are using a facility, the base level operating cost remains much the same, so it makes both environmental and economic sense to lift numbers and make better use of facilities.

Traditionally, the Public Private Partnership (PPP) funding model has been more commonly associated with large scale public works such as roading and, more recently, schools at central government level. However, after two successful PPPs of our own (through our sister company QEII Hydroslides Limited) with aquatic centres over the last two decades, we believe this funding model has a proven and useful role in the future development strategies for aquatic centres across New Zealand.

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Lido Combined
“The most obvious benefit of our model is the ‘off balance sheet funding’ but that’s only a small part of it”, says WhiteWater NZ Director, Grant Brenton. “Equally important are the commercially driven outcomes, such as delivering high quality, sustainable attractions on time and on budget and the speed at which projects can be completed.”

“We look for a win-win-win outcome whereby the council-owned aquatic centre, our company and, most importantly, the customers benefit’, says Grant. “We’ve accumulated considerable knowledge and data when it comes to assessing viability and the appropriate financial structure for each situation and know that it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ exercise”.

Some of the factors that come into play include:

• development cost
• existing patronage
• conversion rate
• potential uplift
• indoor or outdoor
• existing infrastructure
• accessibility for development
• the ability to work effectively with the municipal and aquatic centre management

Aquatic centres facing the capital cost of upgrading old hydroslides or retrofitting interactive water play features are welcome to contact us and investigate the opportunities.
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