Community refuses to fund hall revival
A majority of Waharoa ratepayers are refusing to pay an extra $3.50 to save the town’s memorial hall from sale.
Waharoa Memorial Hall, which is run by a four-man committee, is most likely living out its last days as a community venture.
Chairperson Allan Mayo said the committee found out late last year that the roof needed replacing but the Matamata Piako District Council refused to fund the repairs, stating that hall maintenance was supposed to be funded by Waharoa ratepayers through an annual targeted rate.
But with only $10.50 coming in from 293 ratepayers annually there wasn’t enough to cover the expected $32,000 expense, Mayo said.
The committee sent out flyers to Waharoa ratepayers and the verdict indicated that only 25 per cent were willing to pay the proposed $13.50 fee required to repair the roof.
‘‘No one’s prepared to cough up the cash so we need to sell it,’’ Mayo said.
He said they had until April before the Ward St building would be put on the market or gifted back to the original, but still unidentified, donor.
‘‘We were really disappointed to be honest that no one was prepared to take that [rate] on.’’
He said the hall usage has dropped recently too, adding more financial strain on the committee.
The hireage prices ranged from $20 to $150 depending on the event, but they were open to negotiation.
‘‘If [the community] came to us and said these prices are too dear, we’d work with them. But they don’t,’’ Mayo said.
Council indicated that if it was sold to a private identity, that it would likely go for cheap, he said.
Mayo said it would be unlikely to fetch government valuation, $280,000 for it.
‘‘It could very well go for $50,000 we don’t know,’’ Mayo said.
Regardless of price, the Waharoa resident said it would be sad to see the 70-year-old building go to anyone but the community.
‘‘There have been birthdays, wedding anniversaries, cooking groups and even church take place there.
‘‘To be honest with you it’s a nice hall. We’ve done a lot of work to keep it tidy.’’
Waharoa resident Allan Mayo said it will be sad to see the memorial hall sold privately.