Council was planning to build a new library on the corner of Halifax Street and Trafalgar Street with an overall budget of $46.3 million.

The Elma Turner Library has served the community well but it is a building that has been modified and upgraded multiple times and is nearing the end of its optimal life. The earthquake strengthening work addressing the ceiling tile issues and roof truss structural defects upgrades it from being an earthquake prone building and adds some more years to its useful life.

What we’re proposing

Council is now proposing to rescope the needs and goals for a new community facility, including a library, to service our central city and to look at alternative options to the Halifax Street site that overcome cost and location concerns with the previous plan.

Consequently, in 2023/24 Council is proposing to investigate opportunities for the development of a new community hub, including a library, in or close to the city centre.

The benefit of this approach is it is consistent with the decision to strengthen the Elma Turner Library building and with the building no longer earthquake prone we have time to consider alternatives. Also, it will allow further opportunity for engagement and communication on the project and time to clearly define the scope of the project. A key trade-off is it will delay when the new facility will be available for community use. We are confident that we can continue to provide the services the community is used to in the interim through our strengthened library and our two libraries in Stoke and Tāhunanui.

A 2023/24 budget of $200,000 is proposed for engagement, property investigation, funding strategy development, and a business case review. This would result in a reduction in budget for 2023/24 of approximately $17.6 million.

Through this work in 2023/24 we will develop our understanding about suitable sites and community expectations around services and costs for a future development. Funding decisions for constructing any community hub, including a library, will be considered during the Long Term Plan 2024–2034 consultation process.

Tell us what you think

Do you agree with us reducing 2023/24 funding from $17.8 million to $200,000 and a new focus to investigate opportunities for a community hub, including a library, in a new city centre location? Let us know here