REVISED DESIGN: Models of how Birkenhead library could look once it is completed in November 2009.
A new library is on the way for Birkenhead after years of delays.
Resource consent has been granted for a library at Nell Fisher Reserve, paving the way for it to be built starting in late November.
That ends three years of frustration for Birkenhead residents.
They have been without a library since June 2005, when North Shore City Council demolished the
area’s old library before it had consent to build a new one.
A month later, independent commissioners turned down its plans for a $6.5 million replacement library.
The council then attempted to rezone the reserve to pave the way for a library.
That was appealed in the Environment Court by Abraham Holdings, further delaying the set up of a new library.
North Shore mayor Andrew Williams says he knows being without a central library building has been difficult for residents.
Birkenhead lost a part of its heart and soul with the loss of its library and civic services, he says.
“I was very concerned at the ongoing delays in putting the matter right and I am pleased that the centre can now move to its next step.
“The 2662 square metre library and community facilities building will be an icon.”
Community services and parks committee chairman Tony Holman commends library workers for their patient wait in temporary accomodation.
Plunket, Citizens Advice Bureau and the area’s community coordinator were all moved when the old library was torn down.
An interim library building away from the Highbury town centre has not been well-used by residents.
“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 Highbury town centre,” says Mr Holman.
Councillor Ann Hartley has called the decision to tear down the old library without consent for a new one a “$1 million mistake”.
She is pleased to see the library get consent but says that doesn’t excuse the delays and “incompetency” of council officers.
“Put it this way, I won’t be giving anyone a bonus. It’s the minimum output one would expect.”
The new library will be built to Green Star NZ status which evaluates building projects against eight environmental impact categories.
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times