Work on Petone, Moera, Naenae, Eastbourne and the War Memorial Libraries is expected to take around two years, and planning is underway to ensure library services continue to be available to every community over that time.
Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry says the library refurbishment programme is one of the first projects from council’s capital delivery programme that aims to invest in maintaining core community infrastructure.
“We are spending $4 million over the next three years to ensure that communities continue to have safe and enjoyable spaces to read, learn, and connect,” says Campbell Barry.
“Our libraries provide key services for residents, so it’s vital that we invest in core community infrastructure to allow these services to continue without disruption. This investment will also provide jobs for local people.”
Council’s ten year plan highlighted a future challenge around council’s assets, many of which were built in the 1950s and 60s and are due for renewals. Additionally, some significant projects have been pushed out for a number of years. Mayor Barry says this is one of the reasons Council is taking a ‘back to basics’ approach.
“As our population grows there’ll be increasing demand on our existing facilities. We need to make sure our libraries are safe, accessible places. By getting back to basics, we can build the strong foundations needed to support our city’s future.”
The refurbishment of Petone Library and Heritage Centre is one of the first priorities, given parts of the building are currently closed due to toxic mould. This is likely to involve a significant period of closure next year, so the smaller-scale refurbishment of Moera Library has also been prioritised to ensure it can be open when Petone needs to close. Consideration is also being given to options for other spaces in Petone which could house library activities and the possibility of mobile services.
Council is currently working with the Petone Community Board on a plan for engagement with the wider community on both the library and the Petone 2040 Plan, given the synergies between the two.
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