Civic Centre FAQs

Your questions answered

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 want to get the Masterton community involved when it comes to making a decision about a civic centre. Following initial work to understand the level of demand and economic impact, Council has resolved to go back to the community for another round of engagement and consultation which will take place over the summer of 2019 – 2020.

We are now asking for your input so please get in touch with us, you can see all the different ways to engage in the box below. Check it out and decide what suits you and your whanau best.

We recommend that you read these FAQs and download our Town Hall Factsheet (PDF, 2MB) for more background about the project while you’re deciding how you feel about the future of a shared community space.

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.

According to engineers’ reports, different parts of the three buildings on the site are at different percentages of the New Building Standard (NBS).
– Parts of the Town Hall auditorium building are as low as 10-20 per cent of the NBS.
– Parts of the Municipal building are at 20-30 per cent.
Anything below 34 per cent is considered earthquake-prone.

Did you know that while the town hall building was first built in 1915, the façade on the outside (facing Chapel and Perry Streets), is a replacement built in the 1950s after the original building was badly damaged in the 1942 Eketahuna earthquake.

The town hall building is actually three buildings:
– an auditorium – “the Town Hall”
– the two-storey council offices (on the Chapel St side), the Municipal building – reconfigured over the years, most recently in 1986
– a building added at the northern end, also in 1986, known as the “civil defence” building.

There is physical gap between the “Town Hall” auditorium and the Municipal building.

You may remember school and community activities in the Town Hall before its closure but usage had been
dropping due to its limitations.

The Town Hall was hired for a total of more than 100 days in 2012-13 but by 2015-16 this had dropped to just over 70 days.

A demand analysis was commissioned for a new centre which you can read here (PDF, 3MB)

Even if nothing was done to the buildings, it would still cost an estimated $177,000 each year. They would be subject to insurance costs, and the land attracts rates, like any other land in the district, and
these must be covered by the council.

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.