The fight to get Greerton’s leaking library rebuilt is going political, with Friends of the Library advising people not to vote for council candidates who won’t support it.
The stance is being taken after councillors again knocked back the library re-development even though $1.8million of the money is available, and has to be spent on a library in that area.
Friends of the Library is holding a public meeting at the Greerton Village Hall on August 30 at 12.30pm to discuss the issues and has also created a Facebook page – Greerton Library 900.
Keynote speakers at the meeting include Bob Harvey, the previous Mayor of Waitakere City, who oversaw the construction of five libraries in his tenure. Beth Bowden, from Tauranga, will also be speaking on why libraries matter to communities.
“They have been asked for 20 years to upgrade this library,” says Friends of the Library president Kate Clark.
“It’s been in the annual plan, and the district plan for 10 years, and they keep saying ‘no’.
“So unless you support the Greerton Library 900 campaign in this election, we are going to ask people to not vote for you.
“We think 20 years is just ridiculous. Over one third of Tauranga’s population is using a library with only eight per cent of the city’s library space. Over one third is using less than 10 per cent of the square metreage.”
There are about 45,000 people living in the Greerton Library catchment, which includes Welcome Bay, Maugatapu, Ohauiti and Oriopi/Pyes Pa.
“So that’s what this campaign is about. After 20 years of being told ‘no’ and certainly after 10 years of it being in the annual plan and being put off, and put off, I started getting calls from the community,” says Kate.
The library work was knocked back during annual plan deliberations. The councillors on the Greerton Library taskforce; Terry Molloy, Larry Baldock, Bill Grainger and Tony Christiansen, who have been working behind the scenes for a year on the project, were outvoted.
At the time David Stewart said the timing is bad as council is looking at dealing with serious flooding issues.
The flooding in the suburbs of Matua, Mount Maunganui and Arataki was also mentioned by former supporters Bill Faulkner and Wayne Moultrie as the reason they changed their minds.
Catherine Stewart says the continued support by the taskforce members showed they were too close to the issue to see the bigger picture. Mayor Stuart Crosby moved the issue be put off for a year.