Following years of debate and protest, Masterton District Council [MDC] has now decided which options for the facilities to replace Masterton’s earthquake-prone town hall will be put forward for public consultation next year.
The decision was made on Wednesday at MDC’s last meeting of the year.
The options the council considered for the library/archive were:
 Do nothing [minimum option];
 Undertake basic improvements;
 Upgrade and expand the library [including Wairarapa Archive].
It was decided that all three of these options will be taken forward for costing and consultation as part of the 2024-34 Long-Term Plan [LTP] consultation in April next year.
Meanwhile, the options considered for the town hall were:
 Demolish the existing town hall and municipal building [minimum option].
 Demolish the existing town hall, refurbish the municipal building, and build a new town hall/ performance space on the same site.
 Demolish the existing town hall and municipal building and build a new town hall/performance space and municipal building on the same site.
 Demolish the existing town hall and municipal building, build a new town hall/performance space on the same site, and expand Waiata House to meet the municipal building’s function.
The council agreed to take forward town hall options 1, 2 and 4 for costing and consultation.
All build options for the town hall and municipal buildings could retain the existing municipal building façade on the corner of Perry and Chapel Street, an MDC spokesperson told the Times-Age.
“I am confident that we are moving in the right direction, and I am genuinely excited to hear back from the community about these ideas,” said Deputy Mayor Bex Johnson, who is also chair of the civic facility project advisory group.
“Separating out the functionality of the proposed civic facility into new and separate projects gives us scope to stage building and development while using existing council assets to keep costs down and allows the opportunity flexibility as each project develops.
“I hope that people will be as excited as we are about the possibilities.”
MDC chief executive Kym Fell echoed these sentiments, noting that “exploring innovative, cost-effective design solutions is imperative”.
“In shaping our civic future, the goal remains clear: to establish accessible, inclusive, and affordable facilities that meet the diverse needs of our community,” Fell said.
The agreed options will now be fully costed to form part of the 2024-34 LTP consultation in April 2024, with final adoption in June.