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Positive Progress Signalled For Key Masterton Infrastructure

Masterton District Council has decided to move forward and invest in a new Town Hall and upgraded library as part of deliberations on submissions on the 2024-34 Long Term Plan. 

Masterton Mayor Gary Caffell said the six hours of deliberations yesterday (5 June) reflected the commitment of elected members to balance careful spending with a desire to move Masterton forward.

It will approve the final LTP on 26 June. The final impact on rates is being calculated, following the deliberations, but will be known ahead of the 26 June meeting.

“We had an excellent response to our consultation with 836 submissions, and there was similarly excellent robust debate during our deliberations meeting.

“Councillors quite rightly had a keen eye for the financial impact of decisions on ratepayers but the majority of councillors wanted to make progress on some key projects. That means making progress on the Town Hall and the library, while also continuing to invest in roads and water infrastructure.”

Councillors voted to demolish the Town Hall and Municipal Buildings, including the façade, and build a new Town Hall on the current site, with a total budget of no more than $25 million.

The Council’s Waiata House office will be expanded, at a cost of $8.7 million, to accommodate Civil Defence, customer services, a Council Chamber, public meeting rooms and a lab for use by environmental services staff.

Deputy Mayor Bex Johnson, who chaired the Town Hall Project Advisory Group, moved the motion on the Town Hall.

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“It is a difficult decision to demolish the façade but the cost of $2m to retain it does not make financial sense. Even though the majority of submissions were against retaining the facade we are well aware of the community’s sentiment surrounding the façade and will work with the architects to ensure we incorporate elements of the old Town Hall in the new multi-use facility, including salvaging materials during the demolition phase that can be re-used in the new build.”

Other decisions during deliberations included:

Infrastructure

Planned expenditure on roading and water infrastructure for the next 10 years is:

  • Roading - $159.9m capital budget and $235.2m operating budget
  • Footpaths - $7.4 million operating budget
  • Water Supply – $51.2m capital and $83.6m operating
  • Wastewater – $30.9m capital and $92.0m operating
  • Stormwater – $12.2m capital and $16.2m operating

Library and Archive

In-line with the Council’s preferred option in the LTP, to upgrade and expand the library at a cost of $10.75 million and consider in future a further extension to include the Archive.

Town centre improvements

Councillors decided to progress the preferred option to complete essential work to improve water and roading infrastructure in the Town Centre, with no other improvements to Queen Street.

Changes to services

The following decisions were made on funding of services:

  • Reduce Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy (WEDS) funding by 20 per cent compared to 2023/24 - $80,000 compared to $100,000, saving $20,000.
  • Cease funding for regional Walking and Cycling facilitation ($35,000 per year).
  • Continue funding for regional Positive Ageing facilitation ($40,500 per year).
  • Seek further external funding for Welcoming Communities facilitation beyond 2025 when current funding expires.
  • Increase the Community-Led Climate Initiatives Fund to $100,000, from $50,000, rather than funding climate activation facilitation beyond April 2026 when external funding ceases.

Changes to Council funding and funding requests

The alternative option in the LTP was agreed, maintain existing funding arrangements, with $85,000 through annual general contestable applications, and $316,300 available through the Long Term Plan submissions process.

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