Reserve fight continues

OPEN SPACE: A group of local architects feels that moving the Devonport Library would open up Windsor Reserve.
OPEN SPACE: A group of local architects feels that moving the Devonport Library would open up Windsor Reserve.

As the wheels start to turn on the $7.8 million Devonport library project, a group of North Shore architects remains unconvinced that Windsor Reserve is the best location for the new building.

Tony Koia of Koia Architects is the spokesman for the group that believes the library would be better located in Bartley Square or on Clarence St, opening up the reserve as a public space.

"They are looking to put an iconic building on this reserve but in reality the actual space is more iconic than any structure they could build," Mr Koia says.

The group, which also includes architects Geoff Richards, Bruce MacFarlane, Jeremy Salmond and Wayne Lees, approached the Devonport Takapuna Local Board last year asking them to re-evaluate alternative sites for the new library.

This prompted the council to commission a review of the 2010 decision to keep Windsor Reserve as the library site.

They engaged architect and urban planner Graeme McIndoe, who reinforced the view that Windsor Reserve is the optimal site.

However, Mr Koia says the group does not think the review is valid as it lacks local knowledge and is based on the results of a skewed consultation process from 2009.

"It is convenient to conclude something that has already been decided," he says.

"But we stood back and thought it was wise to see if maybe it was us who had got it wrong. In the end the points raised in the review only stood to strengthen our position."

Mr Koia says it comes down to a lack of proper consultation in the initial phases.

The 2009 public consultation regarding the library project had 275 respondents. The resulting report said 84 per cent of respondents were satisfied with the positioning of the library on Windsor Reserve.

However, Mr Koia says that people were given only two options: To renovate the old library or build new and yes/no questions.

If you look at the actual comments people made outside these options, Mr Koia says, there were 32 negative comments and 25 positive comments regarding the Windsor Reserve location.

Mr Koia says they have the support of Devonport Business Association chairman Eddie De Heer who believes relocating the library could have economic benefits.

Mr Koia believes there's still time to go back to the community.

North Shore Times