Bulls residents question size of civic building

By Lin Ferguson

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Rangitikei District mayor Andy Watson says the final design of the replacement for the town hall is still to be decided by council.
Rangitikei District mayor Andy Watson says the final design of the replacement for the town hall is still to be decided by council.

Rangitikei District Mayor Andy Watson has been delighted with most of the community response to the plan for a new multi-purpose centre in Bulls to replace the old town hall.

However, some local residents, particularly community groups and schools, say the new centre will simply not be wide enough, Mr Watson said.

"The thing is, this centre was designed two years ago and the new complex [is] not a done deal yet.

"There still needs to be discussion with council. It is a council decision, not mine."

Even though he understood some of the frustration about the width of the new centre, he said, in reality, council could not afford to build something big enough to hold 400-500 people.

"Really, it needs to be a mix that is versatile and multifunctional."

Extending the new centre would cost more than the initial $3.6 million budgeted and that funding would need to come from outside sources, not from the council.

However, in saying that Mr Watson said community support for the new centre had been very positive.

Architect Chris Kelly from Architectural Workshop in Wellington said the new centre would take up the Bridge St and Criterion St corner.

The Bulls community would need to raise $100,000 towards the project, Mr Watson said.

"Work on the building can't start until 70 per cent of that community money is raised and 70 per cent of the national funding obtained,"he said.

The aim at this point was to begin the building early next year, he said.

Criticism of the size of the new hall which, in the plan, is narrower than the original hall, could well hold up progress, he said.

The new hall would be able to fit 240 people but community groups and schools wanted a venue that could accommodate 500.

"Extra funding will need to be found. Then we'll see."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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