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Civic Centre: Fears over future of Golden Shears

The 2019 Golden Shears at Masterton’s War Memorial Stadium. PHOTO/FILE

There are concerns that Masterton District Council’s $30.8 million civic facility could put a 60-year shearing tradition in jeopardy.

Past and present Golden Shears presidents are worried the council will demolish the War Memorial Stadium where the event is held each year to make way for the new civic facility, which they say will be incompatible with the competition.

No civic facility proposals have been received for the recreation centre and War Memorial Stadium site, but the architect has made public three early sketches to show the potential for the site.

Some sketches would require the demolition of the recreation centre’s outdoor lido pool or smaller indoor lane pool.

Another sketch showed the civic facility footprint on top of the War Memorial Stadium.

If the War Memorial Stadium were demolished to make way for a new civic facility, the Golden Shears Shearing and Woolhandling Championships would be “in jeopardy”, a joint statement from Golden Shears president Sam Saunders, and past presidents Laurie Keats, and Greg Herrick said.

Seating capacity at the new civic facility has been estimated at 500 people.

“If limited to a 500-seat capacity, Golden Shears would fail financially,” they said.

“Entries of 400-500 competitors and more than 200 volunteers indicate a new event centre would not cope with this, let alone an audience.

“The Golden Shears committee recognise it is unacceptable and unthinkable that 4000 sheep could be shorn in a pristine $30m plus civic centre.”

They also said consultation with the Golden Shears committee had been lacking.

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A Masterton District Council spokesperson however said Mayor Lyn Patterson and a council staff member met members of the Golden Shears committee, including the president, in person and via Zoom on April 8 to discuss the civic facility project.

The council spokesperson reiterated that there were no proposals or plans for the site.

Meanwhile, Masterton District Council has confirmed the cost of its new civic facility will be more than the budgeted $30.8 million, as set out in its Long Term Plan.

The civic facility cost estimate is about two years old, and in that time, inflation and construction costs have risen significantly.

The issue of inflation was flagged by councillor Tina Nixon who chairs the Civic Facility Project Committee.

She said external fundraising would likely cover much of the costs for the project, which would ease the burden on ratepayers.

At Wednesday’s Infrastructure and Services Committee meeting, councillor Gary Caffell asked whether the council’s budget of $30.8m was “still in place”.

Masterton District Council [MDC] finance manager David Paris said it was “fair to say” the cost would be greater than $30.8m due to costs rising significantly since the budget was set.

“So it will be significantly more than $30.8m?” Caffell asked.

“It will be more,” Paris said.

MDC senior adviser Phil Evans said councillors would have a workshop next week to “work through” a reverse brief from the architect and the budget.

A reverse brief is done in project management to ensure the client and contractor are on the same page.

In this case, MDC gave the architects a brief of what they wanted; the architects then did research and stakeholder engagement and will present the brief back to the council.

“It says, this is what we think you need based on your brief, are we correct?” Evans said.

“From that, once the reverse brief is confirmed, you start getting into the detailed design phase.”

As of March this year, $429,341 has been spent on the civic facility project, which began in 2016 when the town hall was found to be earthquake-prone.

Architectus was chosen to lead the architectural design for a contract value of $1.79m.

The cost includes the project briefing, concept, and detailed design right through to building consent and construction completion.

RPS Ltd was engaged as a quantity surveyor with a contract value of $231,143.

SGL Funding is developing the fundraising feasibility, with a contract value of $29,700.

They would be engaged later to facilitate and negotiate potential donor funds once the feasibility study has been completed.

MDC will commit further budget to SGL once the feasibility study is done and the scope of negotiations and work needed is understood. — NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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