Friday, 25 June 2010

BLUESKIN BAY LIBRARY column

BLUESKIN BAY LIBRARY

Expansion Update

by Mike Collett

The decision by the Waikouaiti Coast Community Board at its June
meeting to endorse the planfor the redevelopment of the Blueskin Bay
Library on its current site marks a significant
milestone for this long running project.

While the need for a larger library has been evident to customers and
staff for many years the
project made slow progress until the Dunedin City Council approved
$500,000 in funding for
the library upgrade in the 2008/09 Annual Plan. The initial estimate
of the cost of the project
was $720,000 with the balance to be funded by grants from external
funding agencies.
Following this decision a project group was formed consisting of
Library staff, Council
Architects, and a Community Board representative.

As part of the design process three options for the location of the
Library were considered:

- Current location at the northern end of the Hall

- New location at the southern end of the Hall

- New site

Current Location

Advantages:

- North facing which means the extension will be more energy
efficient, resulting in
reduced operating costs

- Land is already designated for this purpose and is owned by Dunedin
City Council

- Proximity to the existing children's playground facility

- Design incorporates existing branch librarian's office and staff workroom

- Design incorporates a meeting room, available for community use
outside library hours

- Design incorporates a wheelchair accessible toilet

- Design incorporates a new sewage holding tank, independent of Hall septic tank

- No disruption to Hall activities

- Design fits on the site

Disadvantages:

- Need to relocate the library (to Waitati School) during construction

New Location (Southern end of Waitati Hall)

Advantages:

- Existing library could be used for some other purpose after the
library had moved

Disadvantages:

- South facing (less energy efficiency, higher operating costs)

- Design would not fit on site - resource consent would be required

- Cannot build library on top of Hall septic disposal facility (this
would have to be
excavated and backfilled)

- Hall would be closed for public use during construction

- Expensive modifications required to Hall toilets and electrical
system to comply with
building regulations

- New septic tank facility would be required.

- Overhead power lines would require moving underground

- Distance from the existing children's playground

- Would need to create a new entrance to the Hall

- Loss of existing car parking outside the Hall

- Unable to incorporate existing library office and work room

- More expensive than building at the northern end of the Hall

New Site

Advantages:

- Existing library could continue operation during construction phase

- Possibility of shared use of building with other entities, if DCC
would agree to shared
use of building, insurance, security, etc

- Disadvantages:

- Additional and significant cost of purchasing land, and related costs

- Extra costs involved with a stand-alone building

- Unable to incorporate existing library office and work room

- Unlikely to be able to be functioning in an acceptable time frame

- DCC may not agree to shared use of building (DCC owns current Hall
and Library)

In summary

The current library site has significant advantages over the other two options
including a north facing site, the ability to retain part of the
existing library building, proximity
to the playground, fewer potential issues with regard to drainage and
sewerage and no changes to the current Hall or disruptions to Hall
access over the library construction period.

Consultation with the community over the library redevelopment started
in 2007 with a display
of the model and plans at the Blueskin A & P Society's Country Fair.
Community organisations consulted with since then have included:
Waikouaiti Coast Community Board; Blueskin A&P Society, Blueskin Youth
Centre Committee, Waitati Hall Committee, Blueskin Playcentre, Waitati
School, Warrington School.

The design was modified slightly in 2009. New plans were produced and
the model updated.
The updated model and plans have been on display at the Blueskin Bay
Library for customers and staff to give their feedback.

The new model and plans were discussed at a meeting of the Waikouaiti
Coast Community
Board in July 2009. Further community consultation then took place
during the third quarter of 2009. This included an article in Blueskin
News showing the revised model along with the
Architect's design statement and inviting comments. The fact sheet and
model were also
displayed at the Blueskin Bay Library.

Through the consultation process the community has also been given the
opportunity to provide feedback through the regular library column in
Blueskin News and the Blueskin Bay Library's electronic newsletter.

At its April 2010 meeting the Waikouaiti Coast Community Board
discussed the project in the light of community concern over the
partial demolition of the existing library. It asked the
Project Architects to go back and look again at library options at the
south end of the Hall.
Detailed plans for two options were prepared and presented at the June
meeting of the Board.
As both these options had a number of disadvantages over the current
library site the Board
endorsed the library redevelopment on the current site.

While this is good news for those who want to see a new library in
Blueskin Bay, there is still a lot of work to do before building
starts. Costs have risen significantly in the three years since the
first estimates were prepared with the current cost now in excess of
$800,000. This means that at least $300,000 will need to be raised
which will be a real challenge in today's economic climate. A group to
coordinate fundraising has been formed and a fundraising brochure is
currently being prepared. While we will be seeking support from
regional and national fundraising agencies, local support will also be
essential if the Blueskin Bay community is to get a library fit for
the 21st century.

Please feel free to contact me on 4743 677 or email
mcollett@dcc.govt.nz with any comments or concerns you may have.

- Mike Collett is head of customer services for Dunedin Public Libraries

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