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New library on the cards for Opawa

Wednesday, January 24, 2018   Posted in: Earthquake By: Administrator With tags: earthquake recovery, rebuild, Community Groups

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 23rd January 2018

The Opawa community will get a new building to house its voluntary library following Christchurch City Council’s decision to invest in a new facility rather than repair the old.

The earthquake-damaged Opawa Library building has been closed since 2011, with the volunteer-run library operating out of interim premises in the nearby Opawa Children’s Library building.

The original Opawa Library building.Initially the Council was considering repairing the library building. However, it has come up with a new plan that will allow both the library and the children’s library to shift into a new modern building.

“Providing a great place for the Opawa Library has been a priority for the Council,’’ says Lester Wolfreys - the Council’s Head of Community Support, Partnerships and Governance.

“However, a recent comprehensive costing of repairs to reinstate the Opawa Volunteer Library has come in significantly over available budget.

“Fortunately, some recent design/build proposals the Council has received from builders for other projects suggested to us that we could do something similar for Opawa that meets the community’s needs for the money we have.

“A design/build is effectively a design competition – the community representatives will work closely with the Council to agree on exactly what we need, then we provide some very precise direction to the market,” he says.

“We want a modern, low-energy and accessible building of about 200 square metres, and a design/build contract is a cost-effective way to get all of this in one package.”

Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board Chair Sally Buck says the Board is very supportive of both libraries and has pushed for the new facility to be a priority.

“The Board is very pleased to see it taking shape”, Ms Buck says.

The new 200 square metre facility will be built on the existing library site at 151 Opawa Road.

Mr Wolfreys says the first step is to work with the Opawa Library groups to decide what is required to co-locate the libraries and create an attractive and accessible meeting place for the community.

“With the original Opawa Library a notable landmark in the Opawa area for generations, there is a strong desire for the new building to feature heritage elements from the original,’’ he says.

The design will be signed off by a joint working group made up of members of the Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board, Council staff, and representatives from the Opawa Library and the Opawa Childrens’ Library.

President of the Opawa Public Library Committee Marianne Field, says the volunteers are eagerly looking forward to getting things back up and running as soon as they can, in a modern space that works for everyone.

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