Greerton’s long awaited new library is heading toward reality after Tauranga City Council agreed to the next step in the current process - proceed to refine the costs of the preferred $3 million rebuild option.
The councillor/staff taskforce is to progress the next stage of the new library and report back to council in June with more detail in the final 2013/14 annual plan.
The preferred option is a 900m2 rebuild of the Greerton Library with the main entrance into the village square. The preferred option A, differs from earlier option B, by leaving the two council owned neighbouring sections available for sale to defray costs.
The taskforce attempted to save money by including the main structure of the existing building in the redevelopment, but was advised against it by councillor Bill Faulkner who says it will cost more in the long run, than a complete rebuild.
The Greerton community was first promised a new library and community centre in 1993, says taskforce chairman Cr Terry Molloy.
The land was purchased to support the project, but it slipped back in the programme when Greerton residents weren’t prepared to give up the village hall, which was going to help pay for it. Since the original decision, the Greerton Library has been put back while council focussed on other projects including the Papamoa Library, Arataki Community Centre, and developments in the CBD.
Greerton now has a population of 40,000 people, and the library at Greerton also caters for people from the wider district of Welcome Bay, Ohauiti, Oropi/Pyes Pa and The Lakes.
Their preferred option extends the library into the village green area, which Terry says will bring more foot traffic to the village itself – and is one of the original design features of the village green. The public toilets next to the library will be demolished.
Option A is estimated to cost $3,109,000 if some of the existing structure is incorporated into the new building, or $3,223,000 for a new library.
The margin between the rebuild around the existing structure and a complete rebuild from scratch is about $100,000 over both options.
Objections came from councillors Murray Guy and David Stewart. Murray wanted to know why the council wasn’t going back to the default option of a $600,000, 200m2 addition and David wants the adjacent land which was originally bought with the library community centre project retained.
Murray was told decisions were made in December when it became apparent the public private partnership wasn’t going to work for the Greerton Library.
That was when the budget was raised to $1.8 million incorporating development contributions made for the development of libraries at Bethlehem and Welcome Bay – which are now cancelled.
David’s question was answered by taskforce member Tony Christiansen who says the basis of the public/private partnership that council previously approved, was to give the land away in return for a new library building.
That would have resulted in the city council paying an annual rent of $440,000 on a building that it did not own, says Tony.
The existing building is 40-50-years-old and making add-ons would be a complete waste of money. The ongoing annual running cost of the $3million library is $11,423.
It passed 6 votes to 4 with Rick Curach, Catherine Stewart and Murray Guy joined by David Stewart in voting against it.
Those in favour are Bill Faulkner Wayne Moultrie, Larry Baldock, Tony Christiansen, Bill Grainger and Stuart Crosby.