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Thursday 9 May, 2019
Ashburton District Councillors have today voted to build a modern Ashburton Library and Civic Centre that will comfortably meet the community's needs into the future and utilise energy efficiency features, with a budget of $51.6 million.
The Council elected to incorporate features from two proposed options for the facility - the Council's preferred $45 million option (Option One) and the 'Do More', $53 million proposal (Option Two) into a hybrid version, after taking on board community feedback from the consultation process.
The facility will include the larger library space outlined in Option Two of the consultation document of 2,450m², space for tiered seating to accommodate relatively small performance activities such as book readings and recitals (also included in Option Two), and Importance Level (IL) 4 building standards for the Civil Defence Emergency Operations Centre with the remainder of the facility constructed to IL3 standards.
The children's discovery centre, teen space, lounge and study areas, audio and video recording studio, space for collections to be displayed, and space for an espresso bar will all be included in the facility.
The agreed Council budget includes a provision of $3 million in the budget for additional environmentally sustainable design elements. These elements will be subject to Council approval of cost-benefit analysis as work progresses on the detailed design of the building.
Ashburton District Mayor Donna Favel said today's decision was a momentous step in bringing a quality, modern Library and Civic Centre to the community that will meet the district's needs for many years to come.
"The Council has given much consideration to the kind of facility our community will need in the 50-plus years ahead, while also acknowledging the need to provide an efficient, environmentally sustainable, and cost-effective facility.
"It became clear from the public consultation process that residents wanted a Library and Civic Centre that would be fit for purpose and meet their needs, rather than be lacking in features that they may come to need further down the track. Although we went out with four proposals, it became apparent to us that we needed to think about an option that brought elements together from Options One and Two, and this is the solution that we have agreed on today."
One-hundred-and-sixty-nine submissions were made to the Council during the consultation in April and May this year, with the majority (46 per cent) in support of the $53 million 'Do More' Option (Option Two) and 32 per cent supporting the Council's preferred $45 million option (Option One).
Six submitters wanted a mix of features from Options One and Two, with comments requesting some elements from Option Two in addition to those in Option One.
The Council will now begin progressing work on the detailed design of the joint Library and Civic Centre, which will be located on Baring Square East on the site of the old County Council building.
"I would like to thank everyone who made a submission on this important project and to those who came and spoke at the hearings. Your input has played a vital part in the development of this community asset and we are very excited to see work progress," Mayor Favel added.
Video of the Extraordinary Council Meeting resulting in today's decision is available for viewing on Facebook and YouTube.