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Developer unveils alternate dream for Masterton’s civic centre

David Borman presented his Masterton Town Hall plan on Thursday night at a public meeting. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND



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An alternative vision for Masterton’s civic centre is continuing to gain traction in the community.

About 300 people attended a public meeting at the Wairarapa College Hall on Thursday night, where the Masterton Action Group [MAG] presented a solution to the earthquake-prone town hall.

Developer David Borman presented the plan on behalf of the group but noted, “this will only work if the community gives us the go-ahead and
the council can afford it”.

He said the next step was to present the plan to the council.

The Borman plan had a different scope than the most recent iteration of Masterton District Council’s civic facility.

The council’s vision incorporated a flexi-theatre, library, archives, information centre, and meeting rooms on one site.

The latest cost estimate was about $70m [inclusive of a 30 per cent contingency].

Because of this high cost, the council recently decided to review the project so the incoming council could make informed decisions on its future.

Borman’s plan consisted of three elements: a library extension, strengthening of the municipal building, and the demolition and
rebuild of the town hall.

He priced the project at just over $24 million but said it would need to be repriced at the design phase, which could happen once sites were secured for the project.

Borman’s plan included improvements to the library on Queen St, such as strengthening, sealing of basement walls, redecoration, new floor coverings, paint, and a revamp to cater to the requirements of librarians and users.

He also proposed a 400m2 library extension on the council-owned site next door, opening up to a 150m2 enclosed outdoor space with “built-in seats for customers to use for a quiet read”.

David Borman
David Borman presented his Masterton Town Hall plan on Thursday night at a public meeting.

He said the library project would cost $3.8m.

Next on his plan was a proposal for the existing municipal building, civil defence building, and town hall on Chapel St.

“The hall is beyond strengthening and needs to come down.

“I had the demolition work and asbestos removal quoted to me. It’s just on $200k.”

“A lot of the demolition materials from the hall can be recycled, including the native flooring, rimu roof framing, and bricks.

“I personally would like to see a lot of this reused in a new hall.”

Borman said the L-shaped municipal building, which included what many people called the town hall “facade”, needed strengthening.

“The cost to strengthen the building is estimated, at today’s rates, at $2.7 million.”

He suggested it could be used for the information centre, the archives, and to house council staff.

Once the town hall was demolished, Borman said a new space should be built that could seat 800 people.

“It needs to be big enough so that we can attract shows to town, ballet, concerts, cultural events, and be big enough for large funerals and weddings.

“The seats need to be retractable to allow the hall to be used for dining events, prizegivings, dances, flower shows, you name it.

“It must have high-end back-of-house facilities, changing rooms, and easy stage loading.”

He said it must also have a meeting area for small functions, displays, and meetings, and have a commercial kitchen and quality restrooms.

The town hall element of the project would cost $17.5m [10 per cent contingency-inclusive].

It also included $1m for furnishing.

Borman also presented “an idea of how a redesigned lower Perry St could look” to accommodate extra parking and better access.

Councillors Bex Johnson, Gary Caffell, Tim Nelson, Chris Peterson, David Holmes, and Brent Gare were in attendance.

A video of the event can be watched on the Masterton Ratepayers and Residents Facebook page here

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