Town hall trust takes control  

Town Hall update: Chair Kirsty Johnson, deputy chair Rob Feisst and trustee Jenny Cave. 

A lease and service agreement has finally been signed between the Cambridge Town Hall Community Trust and Waipā District Council, 14 months after the trust’s first meeting.

Trust chair Kirsty Johnson hinted at one of the reasons for the delay in her presentation to the council’s Finance and Corporate committee this week when she said bylaws permitted only two uses a year for the piazza.

Piazzas are central gathering places or town squares. The Cambridge Town Hall area has been used successfully in the past for Chamber of Commerce long lunches.

After her presentation, Johnson told The News the trust’s relationship with the council was such they could jointly overcome issues like that.

Three of the trustees initially appointed early last year have since left the trust – Maxine Nelson, Dick Breukink and Mary Anne Gill, while Lee Ann Muntz, who was appointed late last year, has also resigned due to work commitments.

Former Waipā communication and engagement manager Charlotte FitzPatrick, who is now out on her own as a public relations practitioner and Rocketspark head of Partnerships Jason Tiller are now on the trust with Johnson, Rob Feisst, Antanas Procuta and Jenny Cave.

The lease and service agreement was signed on Monday and empowers the trust to take over running the Town Hall from the council.
Day to day administration will continue to be operated by Destination Cambridge but Johnson said the trust was “very transparent” in its processes and would go to the open market in a year to test if there were other options.

She said the trust hoped to recruit a chief executive/general manager soon and put a project manager in on a fixed term to manage the refurbishment activity in the Victorian and Edwardian rooms.

A community workshop earlier this year identified the kitchen, lack of technology, liquor licensing arrangements, security and general maintenance as priorities for the Town Hall.

The trust budget showed a $380,000 shortfall for the year starting July 1 which would initially be funded by council grants.

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