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Library project still on Community Board agenda

April 29th, 2016
[by David Armstrong]

Debate about the timing of construction of a new library is set to continue at next Tuesday's meeting of the Motueka Community Board.

In his report included in the meeting's agenda, board chairman Paul Hawkes (pictured) is asking again for Tasman District Council to reconsider the community's plea for an earlier start to the project by funding a feasibility study in the 2016/17 plan.

TDC's Long Term Plan for 2015-25 deferred the library upgrade or new build out to early 2020s, but a solid financial year and surplus by Council this year gave hope that a tiny portion of that could be used for a feasibility study and community consultation next year and get the project going earlier. (See our previous story.)

"At the last Community Board open forum, those present commended the Council's efforts toward debt reduction and minimising rates increases," Paul wrote in his report.

There is always a 'but'. Those present unanimously agreed that the proposed library replacement/redevelopment is projected far too forward in the current LTP.

"Public feel that a minimal amount of cost savings the Council has achieved this last year should be allocated towards a feasibility study on the library project. $150,000 is not too much money to see progress.

Should the study be left until 2019 as in the current LTP, that will place the project another 2-5 years out. It was also suggested that a slightly larger rates rise would be totally acceptable, as long as the project was given the sense of urgency that it rightfully requires.

"The current library is well recognised to be too small, cramped with lack of display space, overcrowded and well past its use by date."

Paul said he is developing a full survey on behalf of the Community Board around the need for progress on the library issue "and to put to bed, once and for all, the question as to whether the library is a need or a fuzzy want".

The survey will be distributed the internet "Survey Monkey" program, with connections to social media. "I also intend to have it available in hard copy form at the Sunday Market and possibly in the main street of town for a period of time, allowing a good cross section of the community to gain an unbiased outcome."

Paul's report ends with the suggested recommendation: That the Council immediately approve allocation of sufficient funds ($150,000.00) to carry out a feasibility study relating to the library upgrade in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday May 3rd starting with the public forum at 4.00pm, at the TDC Service Centre, Hickmott Place, behind New World.


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