The Dunedin City Council will consider funding a temporary
library in South Dunedin as a stopgap measure, after Mayor
Dave Cull yesterday urged councillors to help an area
''neglected for decades''.
However, years of debate and delay over a larger,
multimillion-dollar South Dunedin ''community complex'' -
including a library - looks set to drag on for at least
another year, to the ire of some city councillors.
The long-running debate over plans for a South Dunedin
library resumed as councillors continued scrutinising the
2014-15 draft budget yesterday.
Councillors considered a staff report outlining five options
for the development of a library complex in South Dunedin,
ranging from doing nothing to a ''pop-up'' facility, joint
venture project or a council-funded development.
Amid frustration at delays and warnings about the costs
involved, councillors instructed staff to report back on the
likely requirements and costs of a temporary ''shop-front''
library in South Dunedin.
Their findings would be presented at budget deliberations in
May, allowing them to make decisions before signing off on
the final budget the following month.
And, if approved, a temporary library could be operating in
2014-15, council arts and culture group manager Bernie Hawke
told the meeting.
Council staff would also prepare a report evaluating options
for a community complex, including a library, in time for
next year's long-term plan budget hearings.
The permanent facility - drawing on an $8 million budget
pencilled into council plans from 2017-18 - could, if built,
make use of an existing, vacant heritage building in the
area, councillors indicated.
The moves were subject to public consultation on the draft
plan, beginning in March, but came only after fresh debate
and frustration at yesterday's meeting.
While most councillors spoke favourably about the merits of a
temporary library, Cr John Bezett was among those to express
frustration at continuing delays to the wider library
Councillors had voted during last year's budget meetings to
accelerate the pace of work, by asking for a report on
options to be considered this year.
One year on, Cr Bezett said they were now being asked to
endorse more work on options.
''It is just so frustrating. I almost get damn angry about
the whole thing ... We have agreed to do it so many times -
why don't we do it?''
Mr Cull accepted the delays were frustrating, as South
Dunedin ''probably has been neglected for decades'' compared
with other parts of the city.
The loss of Carisbrook - and the influx of people it brought
to the area - had exacerbated that, and the council needed to
look at what else it could do to help revitalise the area.
That should include a new community library complex, although
more work was needed to determine exactly what form it should
take, and yesterday's resolutions were ''a very good step
forward'', he believed.
Cr Lee Vandervis questioned why the council had ignored South
Dunedin's library needs for so long, while investing in other
facilities, including a community library in Waikouaiti.
''For them [South Dunedin] not to have had a community centre
or a library for so long is one of the great shames of this
He criticised the idea of a temporary library as a ''delaying
tactic'' and urged councillors to focus on cutting council
staff costs, which would generate savings that could be used
to accelerate the library project.
Cr Jinty MacTavish said delays to the project were not
because the council did not support it, but because it had
chosen to invest in other larger capital projects. She
remained unconvinced the library complex would be affordable
in the short term, but supported plans for the temporary
Mr Hawke said council staff had been working behind the
scenes over the past year, including securing potential sites
for a new library in the area.
The facility was ''always'' going to be more than ''a
building with shelves of books and a few computers''. The
council had budgeted $8 million for the project over two
years, from 2017-18, but the figures were ''quite old now''
and needed to be revisited.
It was hoped the additional work, some form of shared
development and the reuse of an existing heritage building
could all help lower the cost, he said.