The Wairarapa Community Centre is trying to muster support from potential backers so they can remain in business in new premises.
Currently based - for a nominal rent - in the old button factory owned by the Masterton Trust Lands Trust in Dixon Street, the Community Centre is home to an eclectic bunch, including:
- the Wairarapa Green Dollar Exchange
- Happy Circle
- Brain Injury Association
- Wairarapa Women's Centre
- Wairarapa Asthma Society
- Heart Foundation
- Healthy Touch Massage Centre, and
- Wairarapa Geological Society.
While the Masterton District Council has given them some short-term funding, a shortfall of $60-70,000 is likely if they have to pay market rents when they have to move from current premises in December.
If I was the Masterton District Council, or a decision-maker for other funding groups, I would be asking the following questions:
- How many of these groups require premises where clients can visit?
- Is there a compelling business reason for these groups to be housed collectively?
- Could these groups individually be dotted around other spare premises in the CBD?
While many of these groups individually make a valuable contribution to the community, I'm struggling to see why they need to be housed together.
A large group of organisations like this requires large premises. Potential landlords - even community-based ones such as the Trust Lands Trust - need to make some sort of a return on their investment. Charging a peppercorn rent is, in the long term, not sustainable.
A better approach would be for individual organisations to put the word out to their colleagues and contacts in Masterton to find spare space in existing offices, unused church facilities, etc, just for themselves, rather than the whole Community Centre.
If you'd like to have your say on the future of the Community Centre, there's a public meeting in the Frank Cody Lounge, at 4 pm, on 12 August, or add comments below.