What's the future for the Founders site?

Closed 3 Nov 2020

Opened 7 Oct 2020

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Founders Theatre has been closed since 2016. It sits on a triangle of inner-city parkland in the heart of the West Town Belt, a band of open space linking the Hamilton Lake Domain to the Waikato River.

We closed the theatre because of safety concerns over the operation of the stage house fly system and fire and other safety hazard protection. The building is also earthquake-prone and the cost to restore it has been estimated at $12M to $20M.

In 2016, the majority of our community told us they would prefer Council to invest in a new theatre – if we paid no more than $30M. The project to build the new Waikato Regional Theatre is well advanced, with Council contributing $25M to construction.

Now it’s time to decide what to do with the Founders site.

Do we turn it into a basic park? Or a multi-purpose community park where people gather for all sorts of activities? Or is there a third option?

We want to hear from you.
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Pop along to one of our Q&A sessions to find out more. Scroll to the bottom of this page for details.

Why your views matter

Council is preparing to set budgets for the next 10 years through the 2021-31 Long-Term Plan process. Community feedback on the future for the Founders site will inform our long-term planning.

What happens next?

Community feedback on the future of the Founders site will be reported to Council on 8 December as part of the Long-Term Plan process. The Long-Term Plan sets the city’s budget and priorities for the next 10 years. Our community will be formally consulted on the Draft 2021-31 Long-Term Plan in March 2021.


  • Q & A session at the Founders site

    From 10 Oct 2020 at 13:00 to 10 Oct 2020 at 15:00

    Come along to the Founders site, Tristram Street on Saturday 10 October between 1pm and 3pm for your opportunity to speak with staff.

  • Q & A session at Embassy Park

    From 22 Oct 2020 at 16:30 to 22 Oct 2020 at 19:30

    Come along to Embassy Park, Victoria Street on Thursday 22 October between 4.30pm and 7.30pm for your opportunity to speak with staff.