Masterton’s combined town hall and district building was closed in June 2016 due to having an earthquake rating below the required standard.
Since then we’ve done two rounds of consultation to understand what the Masterton District Community wants from a Town Hall or a Civic Centre. People told us they wanted Masterton District Council to build a new building.
This development is a result of that consultation and is based on the resolution passed by our elected members: “to proceed with building a new civic centre. Future work will be undertaken regarding what this will look like and the location. This will include considering options on the current site and options to retain the existing façade with the replacement of the current town hall. Further consultation will be undertaken on the final proposal.”
The term civic centre simply means a large public building or complex for meetings, sports or entertainment. We see it as a shared space, owned by the community, which brings people together.
We are keen to get people in the Masterton community involved when it comes to making a decision on a civic centre. Following initial work to understand the level of demand and economic impact, Council resolved to go back to the community for another round of consultation. This is planned for after the local body elections in October 2019.
Large publicly owned buildings give communities the opportunity to come together for events, celebrations or commemorations. It could be a concert, a local market or a sports game. Being able to bring different parts of our community together is important for our societal wellbeing.
Aside from the social benefits, members of the Masterton community also told us they were keen to see a new building developed when Masterton’s town hall and district building were closed in 2016.
The buildings were closed in 2016 following engineering assessments which determined the buildings as earthquake prone. This means the buildings would require significant strengthening work to be completed in order for them to be reopened to the public.
In 2017 we asked the community whether they wanted the existing town hall strengthened, or whether they would prefer a new development to be constructed. 65 per cent said they would prefer a new building.
Every ten years Local Governments go through what’s called a Long-Term Plan process. Essentially, this process is the plan for how the Council will invest money over the next decade, and figures out how to allocate money it gains from rates and other income.
Masterton District Council went through this process in early 2018 and proposed a budget allocation for $15.5 million for this development. We consulted on this proposed allocation and 60 per cent of the people that responded supported the Council’s preferred option to allocate this funding for a new building.
The Long-Term Plan was consequently adopted in June and the budget for the development built into forward-looking budgets.
In the Long-Term Plan 2018-28 the Masterton District Council committed to making the civic centre development a reality with the next three years (by mid-2021).