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Hearing draws score of civic facility submitters

Over two dozen submitters are set to give their thoughts on the council’s civic facility plans as part of the 2023-24 Annual Plan and speed management plan hearing over the next two days.

Among the seven submitters due to present their views to the council tomorrow are former Masterton mayor Bob Francis, road safety campaigner Aaron Slight, and the Masterton Youth Council.

And included in the 20 submitters scheduled to put their point across today is Masterton developer David Borman, whose vision for Masterton’s civic centre was a popular alternative to the council’s $71.3 million concept that’s been shelved due to cost.

The council’s vision was to incorporate a flexi-theatre, library, archives, i-Site, and meeting rooms on one site in a new fit-for-purpose build.

Borman’s proposal, as presented at a public meeting last year, consisted of three elements: a library extension, strengthening of the municipal building, and the demolition and rebuild of the town hall.

At the time, he priced the project at just over $24 million.

In his written submission to the council’s Annual Plan, Borman “strongly agreed” that the civic facility the council had previously planned in its Long-Term Plan is no longer affordable.

He said the civic facility should have a space for performances, events, and exhibitions, catering facilities, an information hub, and an outdoor space.

He strongly disagreed with the inclusion of a library, archive, and cafe.

“I think the right approach would be to: firstly, revamp and extend the existing library; two, demolish the hall part of the municipal building; three, strengthen the municipal building, revamp the municipal building for tenants, the council for one could move back in from Queen St; four, build a new town hall on the site where the old one has been removed from,” his submission stated.

Also on today’s bill is Lyn Riley of the Masterton Ratepayers and Residents Association [MRRA], presenting at 10.25am.

As part of the Annual Plan consultation, people were asked what they thought about council’s proposal to make savings of about $185,000 to reduce the rates rise impact in 2023/24.

The MRRA agreed with all proposed measures, except introducing new e-waste disposal fees that would generate about $10,000 to offset rates.

The MRRA signalled its support of the council building a civic facility on the existing town hall site and said the previous $71.3 million proposal is no longer affordable.

“MRRA will comment on this more fully at the time of the Long-Term Plan discussions when there is a better sense of what the community views are and what the associated costs might be to see whether any other options are affordable,” their submission said.

Complete feedback from the MRRA will be given at today’s hearing. – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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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