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Next steps taken for a new civic centre

Discussions on new plans for facilities to replace Masterton’s earthquake-prone town hall are underway ahead of consulting with the public next year.

The new project advisory group formed to prepare for the Masterton Civic Facility consultation met for the first time last week to begin discussions about options for the Masterton Town Hall and district library.

The move follows years of debate and protest, as planning for Masterton’s civic centre has entered its final stages, after last month’s Masterton District Council [MDC] meeting agreed to cost the two options on the table.

The advisory group chair, Deputy Mayor Bex Johnson, said she is pleased with last Wednesday’s positive discussion by the group, and its commitment to move towards consultation with the community on affordable options.

“We are very aware that this is the third time we will have discussed a Masterton events facility in some form as part of our long-term plan,” Johnson said.

“We are equally aware of the community’s appetite to get on with the project as quickly as possible, particularly with our library and archive.”

Johnson said the group has strong local voices at the table, including developer David Borman and sound and vision technologist Toby Mills.

“We will have local iwi represented, and we can bring in speciality expertise as our plans develop,” she said.

“Our priority will be to re-scope what could become two separate build projects on our existing library and town hall sites so that we can get revised design and cost options ready for our upcoming long-term plan consultation.”

The two options MDC has recommended to be scoped for public consultation are:

To do the minimum required, with no further work on a new facility, while noting a legal requirement to address the earthquake-prone status of the current Town Hall.

To refurbish and upgrade the existing library and extend that to include Wairarapa Archive and an information hub, and demolish the existing town hall and build a new performance space on its site, as well as refurbish the municipal and civil defence building, with their end use to be confirmed.

Masterton mayor Gary Caffell said at last month’s MDC meeting that he was “delighted” with the progress, which will provide the community with certainty.

“We have been battling this for the past five or six years, and it has created a lot of angst for the community and for council,” he said at the time.

“Now we are finally going out to consult on two options, and it will be one or the other.

“It’s a momentous decision. We have finally got to the point where we have unpicked the decisions made in the past.”

Johnson said there is a tangible sense of excitement in the group, and a genuine focus on taking positive steps to develop the best options for the community.

“I am confident we’ll develop some great plans for the community to consider,” she said, “and I’m really excited about what this could mean for the people of Masterton.” – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air discussed a Masterton events facility in some form as part of our long-term plan,” Johnson said.

“We are equally aware of the community’s appetite to get on with the project as quickly as possible, particularly with our library and archive.”

Johnson said the group has strong local voices at the table, including developer David Borman and sound and vision technologist Toby Mills.

“We will have local iwi represented, and we can bring in speciality expertise as our plans develop,” she said.

“Our priority will be to re-scope what could become two separate build projects on our existing library and town hall sites so that we can get revised design and cost options ready for our upcoming long-term plan consultation.”

The two options MDC has recommended to be scoped for public consultation are:

To do the minimum required, with no further work on a new facility, while noting a legal requirement to address the earthquake-prone status of the current Town Hall.

To refurbish and upgrade the existing library and extend that to include Wairarapa Archive and an information hub, and demolish the existing town hall and build a new performance space on its site, as well as refurbish the municipal and civil defence building, with their end use to be confirmed.

Masterton mayor Gary Caffell said at last month’s MDC meeting that he was “delighted” with the progress, which will provide the community with certainty.

“We have been battling this for the past five or six years, and it has created a lot of angst for the community and for council,” he said at the time.

“Now we are finally going out to consult on two options, and it will be one or the other.

“It’s a momentous decision. We have finally got to the point where we have unpicked the decisions made in the past.”

Johnson said there is a tangible sense of excitement in the group, and a genuine focus on taking positive steps to develop the best options for the community.

“I am confident we’ll develop some great plans for the community to consider,” she said, “and I’m really excited about what this could mean for the people of Masterton.” – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

1 COMMENT

  1. We were involved in organising a combined churches event in the Town Hall in 2016. It was a wonderful time with the hall packed with 600 people. Afterwards hundreds spilled out onto the town square to enjoy morning tea together. This was probably one of the last events held there.
    It needs to be reopened. The councillors ran on reopening the town hall as soon as possible. I urge them to speedily fulfill their pledge.

Comments are closed.

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