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Council shuts community hall

Carterton’s Belvedere Hall. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

Carterton’s Belvedere Hall has a rich history, but it may be the beginning of the end for it after management was passed to the district council.

The council has closed it while staff assess options and obligations for getting the hall “up to standard” or disposing or removing it.

The building, which was a school in the 1880s, has a raft of issues that need addressing, which were raised in a 2014 builder’s report.

Since then, none of the work has been undertaken, a council report states.

It has no official heritage status or value, a council report states.

There have been three attempts to close the hall due to declining usage and limited funds in 2014, 2015, and 2022.

The society running the hall has faced dwindling membership and community interest and increased issues and maintenance.

Last month, a meeting was held at the hall, and a majority vote by attendees resulted in the management of the hall being passed to council.

It was previously a council-owned asset but was run by the society.

At a Carterton District Council meeting, elected members voted to close the building to the public until a decision was made on the hall’s future.

Council staff would be doing further research on options and obligations for improvements or disposal.

Carterton Mayor Greg Lang, who attended the Belvedere Hall meeting last month, said the conversations were “heartfelt” and passionate”.

“There were certainly those who wanted to keep it,” he said.

“The reality was that the community were only using the hall once a year for their Christmas party.

“There is certainly sentimental attachment to the building, but there was a realisation that the time had come for the community to let go of the hall.

“It just wasn’t being used.”

Another Carterton community hall at West Taratahi has a much brighter future ahead as it is still regularly used and has a good income stream.

The council agreed to fund up to $35,000 for improvements and repairs for the hall and the rental, which is on the same site.

Because there is a rental property onsite, the society managing the hall has a good income for maintenance, the council said.

The works would be funded through council depreciation reserves and the hall society’s funds. — NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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