Council is allowing six months to gauge interest in a partnership between council and the private sector to extend the Greerton Public Library before it approves a smaller and cheaper option.
Councillor Murray Guy this week motioned for a six month cut-off period for action on the library upgrade after which time council will look to go ahead with Option A - a $520,000 project to extend the library by 200m2 next year.
Submissions on the draft Ten Year Plan showed the community firmly in favour of Option B - a $1.3million extension of the existing building north into adjacent sites, which will add 450m2 to the existing building.
Option C is 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 Public Private Partnership.
Murray’s motion drew criticism from other councillors who say six months is too short a time frame to allow council to properly explore the public private partnership option.
It was supported by councillors who expressed the hope that it is a temporary solution, and opposed by Larry Baldock Terry Molloy and Tony Christiansen – who all live in the Greerton Library catchment area.
Larry’s protested the option only gives council six months to come up with a PPP deal, and it sets the council of a course before the libraries review is completed.
Terry Molloy says the PPP will take at least 12 months to work through.
“This is not just about a library for the Greerton community, it is very much the focus of the community centre,” says Terry.
He says the centre with a redeveloped library facing the redeveloped town square is a council approved plan put in place in 1995.
“The community has been waiting for this for some time,” says Terry.
Mayor Stuart Crosby says in addition to the construction cost, the $1.3million Option B will also cost ratepayers more than a quarter of a million dollars a year to run.
“This is not the right time to be looking to do that.”
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.
Chief executive officer Ken Paterson says he will know by the end of June if there is enough support to take the matter further, but it won’t be known until December, if there is something worthwhile.
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 with a population of 27,684 while Greerton is 450m2 with a catchment population is 41,674.
If council approves the community desired $1.3million 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 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. The small extension is considered to be false economy.