Our existing Town Hall was closed in 2016 because it could be unsafe in an earthquake. It’s part of a complex made up of three buildings. As you can see in the image, the Town Hall sits behind and beside two separate buildings. The traditional-looking frontage, called the façade, is actually the front of a separate building, the municipal building.
The council asked for community feedback through engagement and two rounds of consultation; as part of the 2018-21 Long-Term Plan and the 2020-21 Annual Plan. In June 2020 the council decided that Masterton needs a multi-purpose civic centre facility and budgeted $250,000 for the 2020-21 financial year for initial planning and design work.
We know it’s taking time to make decisions on what to do after the closure of the old Town Hall, but it’s one of the biggest projects that council has undertaken in recent years and it takes time to get it right.
In mid 2020, Councillors visited a range of different venues across the lower North Island to find out what is possible and what has worked in other locations. Taking the time to explore what other districts have done, and get feedback from our community, has helped elected members commit to building a new facility and refine what it should include.
We have come up with six objectives for our multi-purpose community facility. We want it to:
- meet the needs of the Masterton community and contribute to the wellbeing and liveability of the Wairarapa
- embrace our Māori culture and multi-cultural community
- utilise Green Building design for efficiency and environmental benefit
- be multi-purpose and will be suitable and well utilised for future generations
- be affordable for our community
- be located somewhere that encourages activity, provides easy access, and fits in with existing community facilities.
At the moment the list of requirements to be included in the facility are:
- a flat-floor space that can be used for different purposes (like performances, conferences, exhibitions) and suits the size of the Masterton community
- meeting rooms
- a central point for council and community-related information
We’re also exploring whether we can, and should, include a flexible “black-box” performance space, café, library and outdoor event space. What is included will depend on the cost to ratepayers and the location of the facility. The next key milestone for us is a decision on the best location to help us meet our objectives.
You can read more about the plans in the 2020-21 Annual Plan.