Libraries could become service centres

Suggested changes at the Queenstown Lakes District Council give priority to new ''services centres'' for the public in Queenstown, Wanaka and Frankton.

A confidential draft report released to staff this week - and leaked to Mountain Scene - calls for public libraries in Wanaka and Queenstown to become one-stop shops where the public can pay rates, apply for consents and sort dog licences, as well as borrow books.

The comprehensive report, prepared by an independent review team, proposes cutting the equivalent number of existing full-time positions across both libraries by about five.

As it stands, the two libraries have 15.12 full-time positions between them. That would reduce to 10.68 if the plan goes ahead. Some library positions would be disestablished and new ''customer service adviser'' roles created in their place.

The cuts are included in proposals which would see the number of full-time equivalent positions across the council and its operations drop by almost 42, from 265.98 to 224.14, contributing to estimated savings of at least $2 million annually in the short to medium term.

Establishing a service centre ''over time'' in Frankton at the Events Centre - given the area's increasing population - is also recommended.

The proposed service centre move is part of a strategy to boost the council's levels of customer service and also improve internal communication.

The report says council staff note that internal communication has not always been as effective as it could be, partly due to the council's accommodation being spread across multiple sites.

It recommends continuing to explore options for accommodating as many Queenstown-based staff as possible in one building.

''As an interim measure'', it would be advantageous to have all customer-facing activities - customer services, libraries, regulatory and consenting - in one location ''so as to provide a seamless front-facing service to customers.''

- Ryan Keen and Philip Chandler of Mountain Scene

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