From the Times Age the other day:

“Masterton District Council has set aside $4.1m to breathe new life in to the town centre from 2018.”

Exciting stuff.

Masterton CBB could do with some work, and the last time I saw it being spruced up I was still on the potty. So lets have it eh. Nothing like a bit of improvement for the whanau’s hood to get the hypocrisy flowing strong.

But lets make sure its done right. I got shivers up my spine when I discovered in council minutes (avail. here) that a special “steering group to develop a master plan” is being formed! Christ.. like the communications task group who failed to show any responsibly or oversight with the Pou’s? When that idea was first floated in the paper, the cost was estimated to be $1000 per pou/ $6000. It ended up costing $92,000 which is a 1500% cost blow out. Using that as an indicator of this $4.1m CBD upgrade, we could be looking at $61 million!!! Of course I am just joking because surely this couldn’t happen…but you see the point i’m trying to make.

I hope council really uses their noggins on this and thinks of some innovative ways to progress the upgrade, avoiding a repeat of the Pou’s. I believe the single most important thing to beware of in pulling this off correctly is to not use large multinational companies to consult on this…you are just flushing cash down the shitter doing that, and usually end up with something pretty mediocre. Remember when Wellington changed their logo for $24,000?

I am friends with a chick from Massey who is a design Masters student. Her and her buddies got roped in to help design the new Wellington District Court. Currently she is working on a new textile made from wool with some American company. They are all bloody brilliant creative people, doing Masters etc. Another friend and her class actually developed Hell Pizza’s marketing strategy.  My old boss needed a product  designed, to be made in China later, and got me to organise a competition at Massey. Prize was $5 grand. He got something brilliant back after getting about ten entries, some student hit the jackpot, and he told the European owned company he was dealing with to go take a hike over the $36,000 they wanted for the same brief.

So what I am trying to say is that some innovative companies/orgs are approaching Massey and working with young up and comings, working in collaboration with professionals where necessary, getting beautiful and clever results, all the while saving a fair bit compared to working with your typical large company that councils always seem to lean towards working with.

Lets take this proposal to Massey. Set 10 or so masters students to work on making Masterton look bloody great. Give them a brief: Modern town village lifestyle historical sympathetic to existing buildings…blah blah whatever, under budget xyz. They will nail it I promise you, and it will be so much better than getting some massive corp to come in take all the money and give us an idea you could wipe your arse with.

Greytown....did it right.
Greytown….did it right.
Masterton back in the day.
Masterton back in the day. Amazing.