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Civic facility ball rolling

An artist impression of Masterton’s civic centre. IMAGE/WARREN AND MAHONEY

 

EMILY IRELAND

[email protected]

 

The ball is rolling on Masterton District Council’s $30 million civic facility.

At 5pm on Monday, the council put out a request for tenders on the project, though the preferred site has still not been made public due to commercial sensitivity.

In July, Masterton Trust Lands Trust revealed it had rejected an initial offer from the council for land purchase, but was still in negotiations.

In an overview of the project in the tender advertisement, the council said the development would “likely include the demolition and clearing of the site, and design and construction of the new facility”.

The new civic facility, earmarked for a site in northern Masterton, was given the go-ahead in June when councillors voted 6-5 in favour of the proposal, following long-term plan consultation.

Acting chief executive David Hopman said in a project of this size, the first step was to ensure quality quantity surveying expertise was engaged as soon as possible.

“This ensures that any designs that are developed are in line with budgets, and costs are accurately assessed.”

He said negotiations on a site for the civic facility were continuing.

When the site was confirmed, it would be publicised immediately, he said.

Lyn Riley, of the Masterton Ratepayers and Residents Association, said there were still too many unanswered questions for the project to have the association’s support.

“The CEO [Kath Ross] has barely left the building and the council are forging ahead with their $30m spending spree with still no public consultation or engagement.

“Where is the site? Why has the design not been revealed? Where are the negotiations at with Masterton Trust Lands Trust? Is MDC negotiating the purchase of land from a private owner? The questions go on and on.

“The arrogance of this council with their lack of transparency and engagement with ratepayers and residents of Masterton is unbelievable.”

In a report to the council’s Infrastructure and Services Committee, which meets today [Wednesday], it was stated that procurement activities were “well underway – quantity surveyor followed by architectural services”.

Planning was also underway for the inaugural Civic Facility Project Committee meeting.

The report stated a risk of the civic facility project was not securing the preferred site.

The facility would house a flexible theatre space that seats 500 people and could be used for a variety of performances, events, small conferences, and gatherings.

It would have a foyer that could double as an exhibition space, an information hub that would include some council services, and meeting rooms and kitchen facilities to support the civic facility.

These spaces would flow out, connecting with the outdoor surroundings.

The council said the centre would have a 27m x 27m flexi-form “black box” theatre, library and archives with a footprint of about 2800m2, an information hub which included council services; i-site; Destination Wairarapa; box office, a pre-function come exhibition space, suitable kitchen facilities to support the event space, and meeting rooms.

Paired with the request for tender were artistic impressions of the building by Warren and Mahoney from earlier this year.

These impressions were commissioned by the council to be used in the 2021-31 Long-Term Plan and cost $28,000 excluding GST.

No architect has been engaged to work on the civic facility, and no designs developed.

-NZLDR

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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