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1 August 2019

The Masterton community will help decide the future of Masterton’s Town Hall in a formal consultation planned for later this year.

The Council has been exploring the costs and benefits of building a new civic centre. It follows two initial rounds of consultation in 2017 and 2018 after the town hall building closed in June 2016 due to having an earthquake rating below the required standard.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said those two public consultation phases indicated a preference for building a new civic centre, rather than strengthening the existing town hall building.

“Since that consultation we’ve thoroughly investigated our options for building a new centre, including whether there is demand for such a facility and the cost impact it will have on ratepayers,” Ms Patterson said.

“Feedback from stakeholders is that there is a desire within community groups and event organisers for a centre, however the identified need is low.  A replacement venue might therefore be best done using a staged approach, leaving aside the decision to build a theatre or auditorium with permanent seating for a later time.

“We also know that community groups would want to use the facility at community rates, which does mean that there would be an ongoing operating cost to the ratepayer.

“Then we have an existing building to consider. What we do know is that the Town Hall is no longer fit for purpose. At this point in time we do not have a clear indication from our community as a whole as to whether the façade on the Municipal Building is integral to Masterton’s identity.

“There are a range of possibilities, but each comes with its own risks and rewards and we want to give our community the opportunity to weigh up the pros and cons for themselves and decide which option it thinks is most appropriate.”

The consultation will present options from building a new centre retaining the existing façade and municipal building to completely demolishing the existing town hall and adjoining buildings (including the façade).

“A full consultation document outlining these options and the associated costs will be drawn up. It’s important the community has a full understanding of the impact of all of these options before deciding which it prefers.”

A tentative timeline for consultation has been set for later this year, post the local government election in October.