Toy library given stay of execution

Last updated 13:47 12/12/2013
St Martins Opawa Toy Library
Kirk Hargreaves

ON HOLD: The Spreydon Heathcote community board will have another look at the possible future of the St Martins Opawa Toy Library.

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An earthquake-damaged building that was home to a popular Christchurch toy library has been given a stay of execution.

The Christchurch City Council signed the St Martins Opawa Toy Library's death warrant in October, but today councillors revoked that decision.

Spreydon Heathcote community board chairman Paul McMahon asked councillors to put a stay on the demolition.

"It is a cherished public library and I really do think that it should be considered a heritage building," he said. "The building would cost more to replace than it would to strengthen."

Cr Phil Clearwater said the community recognised its heritage value and wanted it saved.

Cr Yani Johanson, who was the chair of the Community. Recreation and Culture committee that recommended the demolition, said at the time the decision was made the local community board agreed to its demolition, but the new board did not.

"It's not a dangerous building. It's a building that has got residual value and the issue for council is the cost of bringing it up to earthquake code is considerably more than we have insurance for," he said.

"It's a local facility and if they value it then I have no problem with it."

The building had minor damage from the earthquakes and was insured for $344,000.

However, the cost for strengthening the building to 67 per cent or 100 per cent of the new building standard would be about $359,000, with another $200,000 expected to be needed for future maintenance.

The estimated cost to rebuild the facility like-for-like was $595,000, leaving a funding shortfall of about $251,000.

Councillors unanimously agreed to the stay, with the community board to look at the library's future again.

The toy library has alternative accommodation.

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- © Fairfax NZ News


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