Bishopdale library repair costs double

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 31/05/2014

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Rocketing costs have forced the Christchurch City Council to rethink its plans for fixing the quake-damaged Bishopdale Community Centre and Library.

Last June the council agreed to spend about $1.2 million on bringing the building up to 100 per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS) even though the insurance claim had not been settled.

But revised estimates of the cost of that work show the project is likely to cost $2.5m, potentially leaving the council with a $1.3m funding shortfall.

That has forced council staff to rethink the project and they are now recommending to elected members they only repair the building to 34 per cent of NBS.

They believe that, and the improvements planned to make the building more user-friendly, can be done for slightly less than the original budget.

If the council approves their plan, repairs to the 1970s buildings could get under way in mid-September, which would mean the library could reopen at the end of May next year.

The library received minor structural damage in the earthquakes but a detailed engineering evaluation assessed the building at only 4 per cent of NBS and it was immediately closed to the public. Since then the library has been operating out of temporary premises in the Bishopdale Mall.

The council's insurers originally offered the council a payout of $35,000 on the library building, but they have now increased their offer to $113,000. The council has yet to decide whether to accept it.

Fendalton-Waimairi councillor Jamie Gough said he had reservations about the approach staff were recommending and wanted more information before he would agree to only repairing the building to 34 per cent of the code.

The loss of the library had been a huge blow to the local community and while the temporary library had helped fill the void, the community needed its library back.

"A high-quality permanent solution needs to be a priority," Gough said.

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- The Press

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