Change proposed for Cambridge Town Hall
Waipā District Council will formally consult the community on setting up an independent Charitable Trust to manage the Cambridge Town Hall.
Today’s Finance and Corporate Committee meeting approved a formal Statement of Proposal to go out within the next week. A final decision on whether or not to form a Trust will be made before Christmas.
If a Trust was established, Council would retain ownership of the Town Hall plus contribute to maintenance costs. But day-to-day running and promotion of the category two listed building would sit with a Trust. A Trust would also be responsible for marketing the hall to increase usage as well as lead fund-raising efforts.
Deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk said a Charitable Trust was the best way to bring the hall, opened in 1909, back to its former glory and increase usage.
“It’s a stunning building in a brilliant location. But use has reduced over the last decade with less than a third of available days used in 2018-2019,” she said.
“There is a lot of work to do to bring it up to the standard needed so people and groups will hire it. It’s a long list and the reality is, given the current environment, Council is unlikely to be able to fund all the work.”
Hall hireage fees only cover between $25,000 - $35,000 each year, she said. But costs to operate the hall last year were $148,000.
In 2018 Council set aside $3.8 million to help maintain the hall. That money might be carried over when the Long-term Plan is reviewed next year.
“Council would continue to contribute towards maintenance of the building even if a Trust was put in place – it would be a great collaboration,” Stolwyk said. “But independent Trusts have much more ability than councils to access philanthropic funding and that’s going to be important in the future.”
Waipā District Council already has an independent Trust – Go Waipa – managing Te Awamutu’s Events Centre and the Cambridge Pool. That Trust was established in 2013.
A similar model to Go Waipa was likely, with six to eight independent Trustees appointed for rotating three-year terms. Elected members and staff members of Council or related entities, including Community Boards, would not be eligible to be Trustees.
To find out more about the history of the Cambridge Town Hall, visit www.cambridgetownhall.co.nz.