Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Future of Wedderburn hall to be considered

Central Otago District Council will ask Wedderburn residents for their input into the future use of the Wedderburn Town Hall.

The move follows an expression of interest from the owner of the Wedderburn Tavern to purchase the Wedderburn Town Hall and property, which was discussed at the Maniototo Community Board meeting at Ranfurly last week.

In a statement, Council said the tavern owner was interested in developing the hall into a private residence to accommodate staff within the Wedderburn community. The community Board declined the offer because the Council does not own the hall.

“Although the hall is on its own parcel of land and has its own separate certificate of title, and is part of the Wedderburn Reserve, it is Crown land and not vested in Central Otago District Council. However, the Council is appointed to manage and control the hall and land it occupies,” Council said.

The hall property ownership dates back to 1926 when it was purchased by the Wedderburn Hall Association from the Crown. It passed back to the Crown in 1960 and became part of the Wedderburn Domain and was managed by the Wedderburn Hall Committee.

The reserve/domain came under the Reserves and Domains Act 1953 and is now subject to the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998. When the domain board ceased to exist, the reserve passed to Council. An arrangement existed that the hall committee took care of the ground maintenance around the hall property and arranged for grazing of the reserve to keep vegetation in check.

Council says the last official use of the Hall was in 2007. At last week’s meeting, Maniototo Community Board member, Councillor Stu Duncan – who is the current point of contact for the hall – reiterated what was in the report tabled at the meeting, that younger people with children had moved into the community, and as a result a group known as the Wedderburn Community Association had come out of recess with a special meeting, and had held a working bee to tidy up the grounds.

The revived association is planning to hold Annual General Meeting in April 2024 to formalise new office bearers and plan its future direction including hall management arrangements with the Council.

The Hall has also been identified as earthquake prone, with a detailed seismic assessment identifying the building at 15% of the new build standard.

“Should the hall continue to be used by the public, there is a statutory requirement to earthquake strengthen the building to 34% of the new build standard and bring the building up to fire and accessibility compliance standards. The current estimated cost for this work is $393,000 excluding GST to be completed within the next 25 years or sooner if a building consent is triggered,” Council said.

Other capital costs to the value of $32,500 have been proposed in the draft Long-term Plan (LTP) 2024/2034.

“The Maniototo Community Board resolved to engage with the Wedderburn community of interest through the Wedderburn Community Association regarding the issues relating to the future use of the Wedderburn Hall property and to gauge the community‚Äôs commitment to managing the hall in manner acceptable to Council and the arrangement with the Crown.”

“The community board also resolved to inform the owner of the Wedderburn Tavern regarding the legal status of the Wedderburn Hall property regarding the offer to purchase, and that this had been declined,” Council said.

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