Greerton Library taskforce members are examining two proposals for the redevelopment of the library and adjacent commercial buildings.
The councillors are looking at a private/public partnership that includes development of the current Subway block on the corner of Greerton and Chadwick Roads, while redeveloping the Greerton Library and adjacent Plunket building site.
“There are two parties that we are talking to and who have produced some concepts for us to consider they are very interesting and they are certainly worthy of further work,” says taskforce chairman, councillor Terry Molloy.
The taskforce, including councillors Larry Baldock, Tony Christiansen, and Bill Grainger who all live in the Greerton library catchment area, met yesterday to discuss the options for the development.
“One is quite a major redevelopment, and the other is more working with what we have got. One is quite significant if it was ever to come to fruition.”
The taskforce will meet again to see if they require anything more from the companies that have put forward development proposals before making a recommendation to the council.
“It is a good site,” says Terry.
“We’ve got a fair journey to go yet before we could say there’s anything close, but we are in the game and we are talking and looking at it and there are some interesting possibilities.”
“There are a number of proposals in the city at the moment we are working with PPPs (public/private partnerships), hopefully we can get a number of them over the starting line. In these difficult times you have to find innovative ways to keep our city going forward.”
The councillors proposed the public/private partnership approach to redeveloping the library in May this year, after the council decided on the cheapest of the three options presented in the Annual Plan submissions.
Despite public feedback supporting Option B - a $1.3 million extension of the existing building north into adjacent sites, which will add 450m2 to the library building, council decided to go with Option A – a $520,000 development which will see the library extended by 200m2 next year.
The public were also presented with Option C – a demolition and rebuild of the library with the help of a private sector partner. The intent is to end up with a 970m2 library, which will meet longer term requirements, but design decisions will depend on the nature of any PPS.
Political opposition saw the library taskforce squeezed into a six-month time frame to produce results, which it is delivering on.
The centre with a redeveloped library facing the redeveloped town square is a council approved plan put in place in 1995, Terry told councillors at a council meeting in May.
“The community has been waiting for this for some time. This is not just about a library for the Greerton community, it is very much the focus of the community centre.”
According to the council’s own figures Option A will serve the city’s needs until 2013. Option B will meet the citywide level of service for library space until 2016.
The Tauranga City Council also had a legacy agreement with Greerton Plunket to provide 60m2 of floor space until 2016. Greerton Plunket previously shared the library site but was moved to a neighbouring council owned building in 2009.
The Greerton Library tries to squeeze the largest catchment population into the smallest facility of any of the suburban libraries.
The Mount Maunganui Library is 680m2 of floor area serving a population of 15,797. Papamoa Library is 930m2 and a population of 27,684. Greerton is 450m2 and the catchment population is 41,674.
Even if the council goes for the community desired $1.3 million Option B, Greerton will still be lagging when library space per 1000 of population is compared.
The Mount is 43m2 per 1000, Papamoa 33.6. At option A, Greerton will be 15.6m2, and 21.6m2 for option B.
The council received 63 submissions plus a 933 signature petition in favour of extending the Greerton Library with seven opposed.
Most submitters consider the 450m2 extension is needed to cater for current and future population. Option A is considered to be false economy.
The city council is also exploring public/private development options with the Pheonix carpark development in downtown Mount Maunganui.
Nine registrations of interest were received for the Phoenix development and council is seeking proposals from six of the nine.
They are not expected to be in council hands until early next year.