By Peter Dowden
The Dunedin City Council's proposal to demolish and rebuild Blueskin
Bay Library is threatened by a lack of community support. Funding
bodies will not give grants to a project which is so controversial.
Funding bodies will demand to know whether demolishing a perfectly
good building in an area where there is ample vacant land is a worthy
use of charitable funds.
The Council wants to demolish the existing library, one of Waitati's
newest and most modern buildings, and replace it with a larger
facility on the same site. Council staff are ignoring pleas from the
community to turn the library project into an opportunity to enlarge
the Waitati Hall.
It is the duty of charitable funding bodies, and of local governments,
to maximise the benefits a community receives from a project. We have
every chance of getting more than just a library for little more cost,
except perhaps for a loss of face by Council bureaucrats.
Meanwhile, at the north end of Waitati township, a highway project
requires the demolition and relocation of the Blueskin General Store.
The New Zealand Transport Agency is willing to meet the needs of the
store and its customers by building the replacement shop in the most
favourable location in relation to the new piece of highway.
The most desirable location for a shop happens to be on the existing
highway, raising the question, where to put the shop while building
the new highway?
Road planners have come up with a generous proposal: to build a
temporary shop away from the road works site, move the General Store
to the temporary shop, build the new road, then build a permanent
replacement for the General Store where the existing road used to be.
Customers and owners of the General Store ought to be pleased that
NZTA is paying more attention to their needs than the DCC is giving to
the community's concerns about the library project.
When the General Store is happily set up in its new location alongside
the new highway, what of the no-longer-needed temporary store?
An elegant solution to Waitati's needs for a new library and desire
for improved meeting space is available from NZTA's road and shop
• Build the temporary General Store to suitable standards for a new library
• Put the library here when the road and shop development is complete
• Allow the existing library to become an extension of the hall
facilities as an extra meeting room, lounge, permanent Toy Library or
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