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$50k upgrade for Coronation Hall

Masterton councillors have agreed to invest nearly $50,000 to upgrade Coronation Hall into a bookable/leasable space with a non-commercial kitchen.

The 111-year-old building at Queen Elizabeth Park was formerly leased by cafe businesses that did not succeed long-term.

At last week’s council meeting, all councillors voted for the upgrade, with the exception of councillor Craig Bowyer.

“This building has a long and chequered history of not really achieving anything,” Bowyer said.

“I’m just wondering, do you have any hard and fast figures as to whether this investment will achieve anything?”

A council staffer said they had been approached by a number of community groups who are interested in using the space, but no business plan had been developed for the option.

They noted that while sitting unoccupied, Coronation Hall’s annual operational costs were about $11,500, which included security and building maintenance.

Masterton District Council’s community facilities and activities manager Corin Haines said the council was aiming to achieve a “cost-neutral” situation and wanted the building occupied and maximised as a resource for the community.

“There is an option to do nothing, but it means it sits there and we still have to maintain it,” he said.

“Creating a space that can be used in multiple ways gives us the best chance of having the best return on the building, as opposed to the risk of opening it up as a cafe, which may or may not succeed.”

The annual 2022-23 capital expenditure budget for all council’s rental properties, which includes Coronation Hall, is $52,000. There is currently $43,360 still available in this budget. Under the option voted on by councillors, the investment required is $49,850. – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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