Library back on table

The long-running debate over a proposed South Dunedin library is set to resume when the Dunedin City Council considers its pre-draft budget later this week.

A report to be considered by councillors detailed five options, ranging from cancelling the project to the development of a library and community hub, which could cost more than $8 million.

Alternatively, councillors could opt to enter a joint venture partnership with a commercial partner, to help offset some of the cost, or contract a developer to build the facility for the council.

The report by council arts and culture group manager Bernie Hawke was the latest step in a long-running debate. A report by Octa Associates, commissioned by the council in 2005, had concluded the facility was a priority for the area, but debate has continued since.

Last year, councillors brought forward a planned report on options for the facility by a year, to this year's annual plan process, and $12 million was included in long-term council budgets to 2019-20.

That would fund the South Dunedin library, if it proceeded, as well as a planned $3.85 million refurbishment of the central-city library in 2019-20.

Building in South Dunedin would also ensure ''continuity of customer service'' when the central city library was refurbished, Mr Hawke said.

However, changing patterns of library usage driven by technology raised questions about what should be considered for South Dunedin, he said.

Libraries were increasingly social spaces offering a mix of community interaction, learning activities and access to digital technology, he said.

Examples of new library developments in other parts of the country showed what could be achieved, including in Christchurch, he said.

However, the council's financial situation had changed since the project was first suggested, and the council could opt to cancel the project, he said.

If councillors opted to proceed, the mix of facilities and services should be developed in consultation with the community, he said.

Councillors would have to decide whether a facility was needed, and if so, which option was preferred, his report said.


Options

• Council development, vacant site or existing building, possible cost $8 million.

• Joint venture development with community or commercial partner.

• Development by commercial partner for council.

• Pop-up temporary facility.

• No development


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