Libraries  |  1 Jun 2022

Christchurch City Council is promising it will engage with the community as it draws up plans for rebuilding the quake-damaged South Library and customer services building, Te Kete Wānanga o wai Mōkihi, in Beckenham.

The Council’s Sustainability and Community Resilience Committee has agreed that it makes more sense to build a new facility than to repair the existing building, which is nearly 20 years old and suffered significant structural damage in the earthquakes.

“The South Library is a much loved and well used by the local community but it needs an extensive amount of repair work,’’ says Committee Chair Councillor Sara Templeton.

“Estimates put the cost of repairing the building at $26.6 million, However, as anyone who has carried out complex earthquake repairs knows, that cost could easily escalate once work begins and the full extent of the damage is unearthed.

“By comparison, the estimated cost of rebuilding the library is $24.9 million so financially it makes sense to rebuild. A carbon assessment also shows that a rebuild offers the greatest potential to improve the environmental impact of the building.

“It is clear that from a financial and a sustainability perspective, rebuilding is the best option. It means we can future-proof the facility for decades to come and create a greener, more energy efficient building that will meet the community’s ongoing needs,” Cr Templeton says.

“We have directed staff to begin the design process for a rebuild of the library and customer services on its existing site.  They will engage with the community about what they want to see in the new facility as part of that process.

“We expect to have a concept design to consider and more detailed costings in the first half of 2023.”

 In the meantime, the building will remain open to the public as normal.

Future construction work will be sequenced to occur after the new Hornby Centre opens in late 2023.  It is estimated that the construction work will take about 18 months.  No start date has been set.

Cr Templeton says the Council will need to address the issue of additional funding for the new South Library and Service Centre, Te Kete Wānanga o Wai Mōkihi in a future Annual or Long-Term Plan as currently there is only $13.6 million set aside for the project.