Waihinga Centre Media Release 24 August 2015

Council to Consider Martinborough Community Centre Funding

South Wairarapa District Council will consider a proposal to raise the final funds needed for the Waihinga Centre, Martinborough’s planned new community centre, at its meeting this Wednesday.  The Council will discuss a recommendation to consult ratepayers in Martinborough and its surrounding area on their views on paying a targeted rate that would fund the estimated final $1 million needed for the $6.4 million project.

The project aims to strengthen, refurbish and extend the historic Martinborough Town Hall to become a multi-purpose centre housing the Library, Plunket rooms, a toy library, iSITE, café, theatre and exhibition centre under one roof. To date, a feasibility study, initial design, project management and extensive community fundraising have been undertaken. The bulk of the project funding will come from a combination of Council funding from land sales and capitalisation of existing rental income within the Martinborough Ward, and community fundraising. South Wairarapa mayor Adrienne Staples said the project had reached a point where funding certainty was needed before it could proceed to the detailed design stage of development.

“This is an exciting and significant legacy project that the Martinborough community has strongly supported to get it to this stage; we commend the community commitment and motivation shown to so far raise $1.4 million in private pledges and fundraising, and 825,000 in grants. External fundraising efforts will continue, however, we have reached a point where Council needs to look at how the last funds to make this a reality are secured.

“In the planning of any major project there are uncertainties so to manage that we set in place a strict process that took a phased approach to development with series of review points for decisions onnext steps.

“Council is sticking to that process and is now at a key review point where before we commit to the next stage we need to be sure that the project continues on a strong financial footing. Funding the centre through rates was not initially favoured but it has become clear that a small annual contribution by ratepayers in and around Martinborough who would benefit most is an option that would secure the project and allow it to proceed.

Council is yet to discuss where in the Martinborough area the rate would apply and this would be a subject of the consultation.

Further information from:
Adrienne Staples, South Wairarapa Mayor, ph: 027 446 8060
Paul Crimp, South Wairarapa District Council Chief Executive phone: 027 779 9897

The Martinborough Town Hall is a heritage building built in 1912 and made of unreinforced masonry. Falling well below current safety standards, it has been identified as an earthquake prone building under the current Building Act. The proposed Waihinga Centre would see the Town Hall building strengthened, refurbished and extended to become a multi-purpose community hub, accommodating a range of community services for people of all ages. Preliminary design of the centre was completed in 2014 and, subject to funding targets being met, the next step was to seek Council approval for detailed design of the centre in mid-2015 with call for construction tenders later in 2015. It is hoped the centre would open in early 2017. The cost of the core building project is estimated at $5.2 million with an additional approximate $1.2 million required for building services, fit-out, streetscape and playground work. Of this, South Wairarapa District Council planned to fund $3.4 million through a $900,000 loan for the strengthening work, land sales and capitalisation of existing rental income within Martinborough. The remaining $3 million was planned to be raised through community grants and fundraising. Led by the Martinborough Town Hall Steering Group, community fundraising has so far reached more than $2.2 million from local donors, and grants from the Eastern and Central Community Trust, Trust House Foundation and the Lotteries Commission.

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