Library demolition opposed by many

EMMA DANGERFIELD
Last updated 05:00 03/12/2012

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Kaikoura

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Heated debate continues over the Kaikoura District Council's refusal to back down on the civic building project, with the issue raised by concerned resident Kathie Roberts at a meeting last week.

At the council social services committee meeting on Wednesday Mrs Roberts read out a letter she wished to present to council.

She referred to mayor Winston Gray's comments on the council page of the Kaikoura Star, October 31. Mr Gray said council had explored all the options and costings and the current proposal was the preferred choice. "Council has considered all the options and the most economical and affordable way forward is to combine the three units [museum, library and council] into one."

Mr Gray said once the final plans for the build had been completed, the public would be given the opportunity to view them.

Mrs Roberts said she was disappointed with the mayor's comments and she questioned whether the full costings for other sites had been presented to council.

Many people were unhappy with the current proposal but did not feel comfortable approaching council directly, she said, but these people had signed a petition, presented to council last month, which was their way of getting across their views.

Kaikoura Hospital manager Adrianne Carter said the lack of consultation about the process was what had angered people.

One of the concerns in the community was the demolition of the library, which many believed was a perfectly good building, she said.

Committee chair and councillor Darlene Morgan said the lack of consultation was something she had been concerned with throughout the council process.

She had compromised on the decision to go forward with the proposal only on the basis that the plans be presented to the public, but this had not happened.

Councillor Stu Burrows also conceded that there had not been sufficient consultation and that council was legally, but not morally right in its decision not to invite public input.

However, opponents of the project fear their concerns are not enough to stop the council from demolishing the library to make way for the three-storey museum, library and council offices complex.

Work could start as early as this year.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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