First images of how “the community’s living room” could be used

Masterton District Council has released images showing how the town’s new civic facility could be used by the community, ahead of a meeting on Wednesday to approve the draft long-term plan consultation document before it gets audited.

Along with the civic facility, other major projects included in the consultation document are a proposal to build 25 pensioner housing units at the council’s Panama Village site, and a 10-year plan to revamp Masterton, that includes Queen Street, the ‘welcomes’ to the town, and development of a Waipoua River precinct.

Mayor Lyn Patterson said the artist’s impressions of how a civic facility could look incorporated the desire for the building to showcase the culture and history of the district, in a space that can be used by everyone in the community.

“These are not designs – that process hasn’t started. These images show the kind of space we think the community needs, and we think they paint an exciting picture of what is possible.

“We are looking forward to as much feedback as possible from the community when the long-term plan consultation takes place in April.”
Lyn said the proposed facility would be “alive” with activity.

“We want to highlight the intended range of activity that is proposed for what’s been called ‘the community’s living room’. We’re looking at theatre and meeting spaces, a place for exhibitions, and including our library and archive, and some front-desk services.

“It really is intended to be a place where everyone is welcome, and there is something for everyone. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a place that our tamariki and mokopuna can be proud of long into the future.”

Plans to build a new facility were part of the Council’s last annual plan. The estimated cost of the project is $30.8 million.

The question for the community in the long-term plan consultation will be about how much external funding the council should arrange before beginning the project.

As the draft consultation document sets out, by including the library and archive it is planned to create one central community place that will bring together Masterton’s history, with cultural, recreational and learning opportunities.

Lyn said it was understandable that people would want to know the planned site of the civic facility.

“That just hasn’t been finalised. We said in August last year we were looking at possible sites, and that process is continuing – we can’t talk about it because of the need to maintain confidentiality in any commercial arrangements that are necessary.”

Bringing the civic facility, library and archive together would resolve several challenges. It would:

• meet the need for a space for our community to connect socially and culturally
• have an expanded library to deliver on modern technology opportunities
• safely house our users, visitors and staff without congestion
• provide a secure long-term space for our archive.

The pensioner housing proposal would see 25 units (15 one-bedroom units and 10 two-bedroom units) built on vacant land on the Panama Village site, at an estimated cost of $7.5 million.

The community will be consulted on whether to build the units or make the land available to a social housing provider for construction.

The Masterton revamp project is estimated to cost $35.4 million over the 10 years of the plan. The question in the consultation document is whether to go ahead with the full programme of work or reduce the scale of the project.

Over the 10 years covered by the long-term plan, the rates funding needed amounts to an average increase of 5.3 per cent each year.