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Wednesday 17 April, 2019
The Ashburton Library and Civic Centre consultation closed on Sunday (14 April), and it was pleasing to see a number of submissions being lodged in the final few days.
In total, 169 people and organisations provided their feedback on the future of the facility and 15 of these submitters have asked to speak to their feedback at a hearing.
I’d firstly like to thank everyone who took the time to read the proposals put forward and gave their feedback on which option they thought will be right for our district. Thank you for coming to see Councillors and staff at our open days and community meetings; for asking questions and seeking more clarity. Your contribution to this project will help the Council to consider what kind of facility our community will have in a few short years.
The four options put forward for consultation had distinctly different outcomes for our community, not only in price, but also in the features each would offer.
From a new library with higher quality building materials and space large enough to confidently cater for future generations, right through to a refurbished library at its current location, the Council has approached this consultation with its eyes wide open to a diverse range of possibilities for the facility.
The Council’s preferred option (Option One) was for a $45 million joint Library and Civic Centre that would provide for our community’s needs. This facility would not only be larger than the current library, but would also see a fundamental shift away from a book-centric library to one that encourages modern learning, embraces technology and provides activity spaces.
This was not the most expensive option presented in the consultation. The ‘Do More’ proposal, Option Two was for a $53 million facility with even more space, enhanced energy and cost efficiency features and a performance space with tiered seating, on top of the features included in the first option.
The first point of interest to be taken out of the consultation, was that the majority of submitters supported the most expensive option – the $53 million facility (46 per cent), while the Council’s preferred option received the next most support (32 per cent).
Behind these, five per cent supported a joint facility with a smaller library and less features (Option Three), and five per cent wanted to keep the library and civic centre split with the current library to be refurbished (Option Four).
Six people asked for a facility that combined features from different options, and 14 people did not select any option.
So, where to from here? The first step will be for the hearings to take place so that those who requested can come and speak to their submission. The hearings will be held on 30 April and 2 May.
After this, Councillors will be able to assess all of the feedback and consider what submitters have told them before a final decision is voted on. It’s expected that decision will be made at a Council meeting on 9 May.