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Town hall ‘must haves’

Chapel St view of the Masterton Town Hall. PHOTO/JAMES CRAWLEY

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How much to spend on earthquake strengthening of the Masterton Town Hall, or to do it at all, is a big question for the Masterton District Council.

And it wants to be sure that ratepayers and even future ratepayers’ views inform its decision.

The town hall survey to find out the ballpark amount that ratepayers would be prepared to pay to fix the whole building, parts of it, or to demolish it and replace it, went live on the weekend.

Each option has a different price tag.

To demolish it will cost about $2 million and to build a new civic centre will cost from $15.5m to $16.5m.

To retain the 1950s façade and build a facility connected to it will cost from $15m to $16m.

The survey is also about keeping the town hall’s façade and “how important it is to keep”.

Mayor Lyn Patterson said the closure of the town hall was significant for the community.

“The closure of the town hall in 2016 was a big change for Masterton and it has been a long process trying to decide on next steps,” she said.

“On one hand, many think a shared community facility like a town hall or civic centre is the heart of a community.

“On the other, we need to consider the financial impact this investment would have on our community,” Patterson said.

“All of the information gathered over the next couple of months will help inform the council’s understanding of a preferred option, which we will consult on early next year.”

From this week, the council will have a “Have your say hub” at the Queen St council office and will be at some community events over the summer.

It is also going to engage with children at some of the school holiday programmes.

Communications manager Shanna Crispin said this was because what would be done would be paid for over generations.

“It’s important we hear from our younger residents,” she said.

“We will be doing workshops through the Equippers and Connecting Communities school holiday programmes.”

Council engagement and the survey will continue until mid-February.

The town hall was built more than 100 years ago in 1915, and the present façade was added in 1954.

Over the decades, it has had repairs and additions.

It was damaged by the 1942 Wairarapa earthquake, and earthquakes in the South Island in 2011 and 2016, combined with 6.2 magnitude 2014 Eketahuna earthquake meant the building was closed.

There is a fact sheet about the issues and survey on www.mastertontown.nz

The survey is online at: (www.surveymonkey.com/r/93WQW3Y)


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