A welcome “pre-Christmas present” has gone to Birkenhead residents having to put up with a long wait for a local library.
Building consent has just been granted for a new Birkenhead library, paving the way for construction to start in early 2009.
All those who have been working on and waiting for the library are delighted, says Northcote councillor Tony Holman.
“There has been much frustration in the past about the delays for this library, but today brings a very nice pre-Christmas present,” he says.
The old Birkenhead library was demolished in 2005 to make way for a bigger and more modern building.
But before building could start on the new library, independent commissioners denied it resource consent.
Council was forced to reapply, but that was appealed to the Environment Court by owners of the neighbouring Rawene Chambers building.
About $1.3 million of council money has been spent getting consents for the building and defending legal appeals.
A temporary library has been established at Birkenhead Leisure Centre during the three years of delays.
Mr Holman says the new council has made putting a new library in Birkenhead one of its top priorities.
“We’re well aware that many people have found it difficult to use the interim library and we’re conscious of the economic effects on Highbury town centre.
“We hope that the new library will help provide new enthusiasm for the use of the library and rejuvenate the centre,” he says.
The new library will house the Birkenhead/Northcote Community Board meeting rooms, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Plunket and the area’s community coordinator.
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times