Decision on Howick War Memorial Hall provides clarity for the community

Publish Date : 17 May 2024
Howick Information Service Centre.

Howick War Memorial Hall is to operate as an official venue for hire managed through the Auckland Council venue booking system, Howick Local Board has agreed.

The much-loved building, commonly known as the Howick Information Centre, has a rich history dating back to its opening on 24 April 1957, has been an ongoing discussion since 2017.

Board chair Damian Light says, “Howick War Memorial Hall, previously operated as an information centre staffed by a combination of council employees and volunteers. During this time, it was known as the Howick Information Service.

“In 2017, an assessment identified the hall as underutilised, the board expressed interest in implementing a community hub with programmed activities. In August 2020, the board resolved to enable the hall to operate as a venue for hire and no fees or charges have been in place for use of the space.”

To gauge the community's interest in managing the space themselves, the local board decided to initiate an Expression of Interest (EOI) process. There were nine applications from a wide range of local community organisations.

“Closing out the EOI process provides certainty for the applicants, public and staff. Reaching this stage has required significant effort and dedication and we thank applicants for their involvement in the process to date,” adds Light.

As a result of the decision, the hall becomes a formal venue for hire and brings the booking system in line with other venues in the region, allowing customers to book online, eliminating the need for phone reservations.

Venues available for hire incur a modest hourly fee, which serves to cover a portion of the expenses associated with maintenance and renewal. To promote usage, substantial discounts are offered to frequent users and community organisations. Nevertheless, the Board acknowledges that this adjustment might affect current regular users who have been accustomed to utilizing the space free of charge. To allow time for users to adapt, the Board has decided to implement hire fees from 1 January, 2025.

“The Howick Memorial Hall has been of high public interest for several years, and we appreciate that it’s taken longer than we’d all hoped. This decision delivers the clarity that the public have been asking for and allows the community to continue to activate the building through a well understood, fair and transparent process,” said Light.

Work to increase the capacity of the building beyond the current 15 people maximum will be considered, noting the significant pressure that budgets are under. Minor works to bring the building up to the standard expected for a venue for hire will be managed through the normal ongoing repair and maintenance processes.

Go here to view agenda notes from May’s business meeting.

The names of the district’s fallen from both world wars are inscribed on the Howick and Pakuranga First World War memorial obelisk on Stockade Hill.

The names of the district’s fallen from both world wars are inscribed on the Howick and Pakuranga First World War memorial obelisk on Stockade Hill.

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