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Civic Facility Development

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 Masterton District Council is revisiting its vision for a civic facility.

The Civic Facility Working Group

On 23 May 2022, the Council received a reverse brief from the project architect in which costs for the proposed Civic Facility were estimated by our QS at $57.14m, up from $30.8 in the 2021 LTP consultation document. A recommended construction contingency of $14.2 million would lift this to $71.3m.

At that meeting, the Council agreed to pause the project and undertake complementary work, including a review led by an independent chair, to provide the new Council with information to enable a decision on next steps early in the new term.

The Civic Facility Working group includes:

  • Ian Collier (Chair)
  • Mihirangi Hollings (Rangitāne o Wairarapa)
  • Hera Cobb (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa)
  • Rachael Dean (independent member)
  • Andrew Clarke (independent member)

The Civic Facility Working Group Report is available in the 14 December Council Meeting Agenda here:

Next steps

The Council will consider next steps on the Civic Facility project early in 2023.

Any changes to the project will mean we will need to consult with our community on any future proposals. We will make sure this is advertised when it happens.

Photo – artist’s impression. Not indicative of the final design.

History of the Civic Facility

Focused on today’s needs and tomorrow’s communities in mind, the Masterton Civic Facility looked to build a facilitythat would reflect who we are as a district.

We asked the community over several rounds of consultation, and in 2021 the Council voted 6-5 to build a modern civic facility that would:

  • support the performing and visual arts with a flexi-form black box theatre space
  • house a modern, accessible, and fit for purpose library and archives
  • create an information hub for our communities (Council services; i-site; box office etc)
  • allow access to a purpose-built function-come-exhibition space
  • provide suitable kitchen facilities to support the event space
  • facilitate meetings of all sizes with meeting rooms for community groups and other users.

Council agreed the Masterton Civic Facility would be designed to create a hub at the north end of town, offering a strong connection to other public spaces and welcoming visitors to Masterton.

The Facility will be designed and built to reflect our Kaupapa as a district – representative of the stories that surround us. Council agreed to engage with iwi and other groups as the facility is developed to ensure it reflects the best of us and will work well for our community.

A focus was that the Masterton Civic Facility would rarely sit empty. As the home of our district Library and Archive, the people of Masterton and visitors to our district could use the space every day.

Council wanted to build a facility designed to build community – a shared space for people with diverse backgrounds and interests to come together; to create a heart for culture, learning, creative expression, corporate gatherings and strengthened communities within our District.

The Decision Timeline

When Masterton’s town hall and municipal buildings were closed in 2016 after being found to be earthquake-prone, it started discussions around what type of civic facility Masterton needed.

In a 2017 survey, 65 per cent of 220 community respondents told us they preferred to build a new facility over strengthening the existing town hall building.

In 2018, as part of consultation on the 2018-21 Long-Term Plan (LTP), we proposed three key options:

  • build a new facility (59 per cent supported this – cost $15.5M)
  • strengthen the existing building (27 per cent support – cost $12-$15M)
  • not replace the town hall (14 per cent support – cost $850,000).

As a result of this consultation, the Council decided to build a new performing arts and events centre.

The 2018 LTP also included up to $5 million for extending the library in 2020/21 and 2021/22. The 2020/21 Annual Plan put this expenditure on hold to consider other options, including the whether the library should be included in the new multi-purpose facility.

In the summer of 2019/20, more than 1,050 people responded to a survey on what their civic centre should contain.

The facilities chosen as most important were:

  • space for concerts
  • meeting room facilities
  • arts/cultural exhibition space
  • a library

The 2020/21 annual plan included a decision that a multi-purpose civic facility be built, with $250,000 budgeted for the year to pay for initial planning and design work.

In August 2020, the council announced it was looking at a range of potential locations for a multi-purpose civic facility after fine-tuning objectives for the community asset.

In April 2021, the building housing the Wairarapa Archives was found to be earthquake-prone, and the operation was moved to the Masterton library. During this move, the basement of the library was found to be mouldy, as a result of ongoing leaking.

In May 2021, as part of LTP consultation, the community was asked when the civic facility should be built and how it should be funded:

  • 46 per cent of the 191 submitters preferred either building straight away or with a minimum of $4m funding.

On 2 June, the Council voted 6-5 to proceed with building the civic facility, including the library and archive, with at least $4 million in external funding, from 2022/23.

Funding the Civic Facility

The total estimated cost is $30.3 million with a minimum $4m sourced from external funding. The actual cost to ratepayers once complete is estimated to be less than $2 per week on each household rates bill.

$250,000 was allocated in FY 2020- 21 to get initial planning and design work underway. The project is anticipated to take four years to complete.

Up-to-date project costs will be included in reporting to the Civic Facility Project Committee, with agendas made available on the Meetings and Agendas page of this website, linked below:

SGL Funding LTD has been appointed as the Capital Fundraiser on behalf of MDC. Their role is to develop the Capital Fundraising Strategy on behalf of the Council to obtain the $4m required to complete the Civic Facility. SGL Funding has been engaged to develop the fundraising feasibility for $29,700 and will be engaged later to facilitate and negotiate potential donor funds once the feasibility study has been completed. Upon developing the feasibility and understanding what the scope will be required to undertake the facilitation and negotiations, MDC will commit further budget to SGL.

Architectus has been engaged to lead the Architectural design on behalf of MDC for a contract value of $1.85m. The cost includes the development of the project briefing, concept, and detailed design right through to building consent and construction completion.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are you doing?

Masterton District Council is moving ahead with plans to build a multi-functional, multi-cultural civic facility. Built with today’s needs and tomorrow’s communities in mind, the facility will reflect who we are as a district.

What prompted this?

When the town hall and municipal buildings had to be closed after checks in 2016 found they were earthquake-prone – we started thinking about what the best option for a future facility might be.

What engagement has taken place?

  • 2017 – survey with 220 community respondents – majority told us they preferred to build a new facility.
  • 2018 – consultation on the 2018-21 Long-Term Plan – per consultation results, Council agreed that facility would include a performing arts and events centre.
  • 2019/20 – survey with 1,050 community respondents – told us what the Civic Facility should contain. The facilities chosen as most important were:
    • space for concerts
    • meeting room facilities
    • arts/cultural exhibition space
    • a library.

Why not build on the current town hall site?

The site of the current Town Hall might have been the best location in 1915, but it’s not anymore because it’s not well connected to our Town Centre and getting people safely across SH2 is a challenge, the site is limited in size which means that we aren’t able to build what we need for our future generations

What’s happening with the Town Hall?

No decisions have been me about the Town Hall. Council met and agreed that whatever happens to the Town Hall site, the façade will be retained.

How much will it cost?

In June 2021, Council agreed to allocate $30.8 million spread over the next six years, with external funding of at least $4 million.

What has it cost so far?

The 2021/21 Annual Plan included investing in a shared, multi-purpose facility. It states:

$250,000 has been allocated in 2020- 21 for this project to get initial planning and design work underway.

Laatest figures on the Civic Facility are reported in the Civic Facility Steering Committee meetings. These meetings are broadcast live, with agendas and minutes available online.

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