28 Sep 2023

Councillors are set to decide the future of the earthquake-damaged South Library and Service Centre building.

Christchurch City Council staff’s recommendation to rebuild the facility without delay has been endorsed by the Waihoro Spreydon-Cashmere-Heathcote Community Board, considering it the fastest, most cost-effective and environmentally friendly option.

Read the recommendation.

“The community will be pleased to see a final decision on the future of the building at last,” says Waihoro Spreydon-Cashmere-Heathcote Community Board Chair Callum Ward.

“They’ve been with us every step of this journey, and their feedback has informed the new design for a rebuild that we have on the table.”

The building at 66 Colombo Street in Beckenham was badly damaged in the 2010/2011 earthquakes and has been temporarily strengthened to bring it to 34% of the New Building Standard – safe to occupy, but in need of a permanent solution. On top of this, amenities in the building, like the air conditioning system, are coming to the end of their lifecycle and need to be upgraded.

The Council currently has $22.6 million of funding put aside for the South Library and Service Centre building so regardless of whether it chooses to repair or rebuild, it will need to allocate extra funding for the project as part of next year’s Long Term Plan 2024–2034 process.

“The longer the wait, the bigger the construction cost,” Mr Ward says.

“Once we have a decision, staff will be able to forge ahead in earnest and give a solid timeframe for when people can expect to see South Library back at full strength.”

Should the Council decide to rebuild without delay at their upcoming Wednesday 4 October meeting, the design will be completed and consented, followed by procurement and construction, which would begin in 2025 and take around 20 months.

The rebuild keeps the building’s current riverside location, the library and service centre would remain open as normal until then. Staff are currently looking at options for temporarily relocating library and customer services while construction is underway.