Tension over library services

The Wanaka group opposing changes to library services proposed in a report to the Queenstown Lakes District Council has taken the council to task for refusing to consult the public.

In an ''open letter'' to chief executive Adam Feeley and mayor Vanessa van Uden, the group - Protect Wanaka Library Organising Committee - said on Tuesday it believedthe proposed changes would have ''substantial impacts'' on library users and the council had a ''moral obligation'' to consult the public.

In an ''open letter'' of their own last week, Mr Feeley and Ms van Uden said the council was not obliged to consult the public because the changes were not ''a matter of sufficient magnitude''.

The committee said the council's ''significance policy'' appeared to allow for ''arbitrary and inconsistent decisions'' about what the council chose to consult on.

''We remain of the view that council has a moral obligation to involve the community.

''Council has assured us over the last couple of years that we will be involved in decision-making to a greater degree than in the past.''

Asked by the Otago Daily Times on Tuesday if the council believed there was a problem with its significance policy, a council spokeswoman responded: ''No''.

The committee's open letter also calls for library services to be reviewed by ''someone with specific library experience''.

The group has previously questioned whether the three-person team that reviewed council services had appropriate library knowledge.

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