Halswell hub construction to start soon

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 16:17 07/07/2014
ONE STOP SHOP: The new hub will incorporate a library, meeting spaces and a customer service desk.
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ONE STOP SHOP: The new hub will incorporate a library, meeting spaces and a customer service desk.

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Construction of Halswell's long-awaited new library and community facility will begin next week.

The project has been in the pipeline since 2009 and will see $22.9 million invested in a new community hub incorporating a library, meeting spaces and a customer service desk.

They will be housed together in a 3000sq m building sited next to the popular Halswell Aquatic Centre's outdoor pool.

The facility is expected to take about 16 months to build, with the opening scheduled for November next year.

Christchurch City Council facilities and infrastructure rebuild director David Adamson said the project had been a long time in the pipeline.

''Even prior to the post-quake population shift, the council identified that there was a population boom in Halswell, so it's fair to say the community has been looking forward to a facility like this for a long time now.

This isn't just the first major council facility for Halswell, it's actually the first of its kind in Christchurch to bring this range of services together.

"It's a bit of a one-stop-shop, and this is the approach that our conversations with the community have told us people want," Adamson said.

"Hubs like this aren't just convenient for local residents - they also mean efficiency and savings on the council's part. We're moving towards combining libraries, recreation and sports, customer service and community facilities on a wider scale, and this will be another step."

Adamson said the council had picked up on many of the ideas the community had put forward for the new facility and it would incorporate an indoor play area for young children, a cafe with outdoor views, a specific area for outdoor community activities like markets and performances, a large multipurpose space for conferences and meetings, and capacity for dance and low-impact fitness activities.

Some trees next to the pool were being removed to make space for the facility and its carpark but the council would be planting 122 trees around the new buiding, as well other low-growing plants.

Halswell Aquatic Centre's main pool and hydroslides would stay open over the coming summer as temporary changing rooms, toilets and staff facilities would be provided.

Adamson said the future of the existing Halswell library, built in 1968 and now too small for the community's needs, had not yet been decided.

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