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All is not lost for new library plans

July 9th, 2014
[by David Armstrong]

A new library for Motueka remains part of Tasman District Council's thinking and work begins to plan a library-based community facility for Decks Reserve.

TDC Mayor Richard Kempthorne addressed the board at yesterday's meeting of the Motueka Community Board, explaining the brief history of the library upgrade plan and why Council voted not to proceed with a revamp of the old building in Memorial Park, apart from seismic strengthening.

Instead, he said effort must go into getting a new library and the relocated Council Service Centre and other community facilities, planned for the preferred site in Decks Reserve, off Wallace Street.

This would mean ensuring it is included in the next Long Term Plan, the next three years of which will be decided later this year. He said that is Council's wish, with the only problem being how to do it without going into further debt.

Earlier that afternoon, in the meeting's public forum, a representative of Vision Motueka asked Council and the Community Board to aim for such a plan, but also entreated them to include serious input in the planning stages from community groups such as Vision Motueka and/or the development trust that Vision is setting up.

He said it was the concept and detailed research which the Vision Motueka team had carried out through 2012 that had convinced council planners that a hub in Decks Reserve would provide the most benefit to the town, but so far the group had not been included in any planning.

He said if Council wanted the community to help financially then many people would be willing to help, but only if we could be "treated as partners, not just as ratepayers".

Mayor Kempthorne admitted that it was an error of Council not to have included Vision Motueka in the working party which had been set up in 2013 to investigate alternative sites for a library.

After Richard spoke, board member David Ogilvie spoke passionately about his "bitter" disappointment that a new library had not been included in the 2014-15 annual plan.

David then put to the board a recommendation that further planning for the Decks Reserve hub facility is progressed in the current financial year, aiming for construction to start in the second half of 2015 and spread over two funding years.

The board voted in agreement to re-establish the previous library working party, with Cr Judene Edgar as chair and Motueka's Cr Peter Canton as deputy chair.

Other members would include Motueka ward councillors, Community Board members, key Council managers and librarians, and representation by Vision Motueka and/or the Motueka Development Trust which is being formed by Vision Motueka.

The role of the working party, the Community Board agreed, would be to formulate "site plans, designs, costs and other factors, with the objective of bringing plans [for the new buildings] into the Long Term Plan 2015 - 2025, but for construction to commence in the 2015 - 2016 Annual Plan".

As board member Richard Hurrell said, "This issue is not going to go away. We just have to get it going again."


Comment by Wendy Kelling:
[Posted 10 August 2014]

Even though I now live in Dunedin, I was a weekly user of the Motueka Library all my childhood and my mother Elizabeth Kelling was until she became too disabled to get there.

Peter Canton was said in an earlier item, to see libraries as "wants not needs". I wish to assure him that for many people food for the mind is indeed a need. I can't begin to convince you how important the library was to us, how reassuring it was to my mother in her early years as an immigrant. Healthy communities need lively minds, and I always checked out a town's library before I agreed to move anywhere.

I hope that next time I visit, the new library will be well on its way, and well done to those who have kept battling for it.

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