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Council report examines future of Motueka library

February 19th, 2013
[by David Armstrong]

Tasman District Council's options for the upgrade of the Motueka Library have been set out in a report by Property Services Manager Jim Frater to be considered at the full Council meeting on Thursday.

The report, which was outlined at last week's Motueka Community Board meeting (see our report here), has been modified in places as a result of the resolution passed by the Board at that meeting.

It rejects the Board's preference that extra funding be put into the 2013/14 Annual Plan to begin the upgrade as part of a new community hub preferably in Decks Reserve, but recommends its second preference - that the upgrade be deferred for a year while further evaluation of the alternative site is carried out.

It noted that the Community Board "was concerned about the project, which is of importance to the Motueka community, being delayed". You can read the full report here.

What is clear from Jim's report is that an upgrade of the library using existing walls and part of the Senior Citizens building, with the budget of a little over $1 million, simply will not work in the long term.

Reasons include the inadequate seismic ratings on the existing library building and the Senior Citizens building which the extension was proposed to incorporate, and the "constrained" provision of onsite carparking and the availability of additional carparking in this area.

The report offers four options for Council to decide on - seek further funding up to almost $1.8m for an upgrade on the present site; reduce the upgrade to fit the budget for a building adequate for a few more years; start planning again possibly at a new site; or defer the project indefinitely while upgrading the present library to earthquake standards.

It says if other partners outside the Council are considered as part of any new proposal (as may be required for a hub involving several functions such as i-SITE), funding issues will have to be addressed as part of a business case.

The report recommends that the project be deferred for one year while "further investigations are carried out to include the existing library site, alternative premises, carparking, the option of combining with the Motueka Office and other partners. The future of the existing library building, if it is not the preferred option, would be reviewed as would the funding allocation."

It also recommends the establishment of a working party, to consider options including those promoted by Vision Motueka, that would include representation from Council staff, Community Services Committee Chair, Motueka Ward Councillors and Motueka Community Board members, along with the ability to second on the group other specific expertise or advisors, such as Vision Motueka.

It wants funding for further investigations of $25,000 be included in the Draft Annual Plan for 2013/2014, to be funded from Motueka Reserve Financial Contributions.

The review of the library upgrade project arose partly from work by Vision Motueka which suggested that a hub could be established which included the library and other potential agencies.

Several discussions had been held by Vision Motueka with staff, the Mayor, Councillors and Community Board members. There was a suggestion that the Council should be looking at alternative options rather than expansion on the existing site.

The report says if the report's recommendation proceeds, "appropriate communication with the Motueka community will need to occur to ensure that the reasons that the project is being deferred are understood".

And if a preferred option is identified which involves relocating the library elsewhere (such as to a Decks Reserve hub), "this may require further detailed public consultation".

The report is well aware of the challenge and risk that the new strategy will bring. "The risk in deferring the project as is currently included in the Long Term Plan is that the funding to undertake a library development, or provide new library premises, may not be allocated thus resulting in the status quo situation with a building that will require further strengthening.

"This is a risk that applies to all capital projects that are identified in the Long Term Plan and have yet to commence but is considered to be a manageable risk should the Council proceed with the preferred option.

"The strategic challenges will be in the needs assessment and consideration of the partners or organisations that might comprise any future library premises."


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