Library cafe step closer to rebuild

The much-delayed repair of the Fairlie Library cafe might be getting closer.

Mackenzie District Council chief executive Wayne Barnett said two local building companies have tendered for the work, while the council's architect was negotiating with them regarding the details.

"The council's architect has estimated the cost to repair the Old Library Café to be about $585,000. Both tenders are close to that amount. We are confident that a suitable contract will be negotiated and signed soon. Once this happens we will be in a position to announce the construction timeframe," he said.

The council-owned building was badly damaged by fire in October 2011, wrecking much of the interior and most of the exterior. The council decided to repair the building, registered as category 2 with the Historic Places Trust, after consultation with the Fairlie community.

However, Barnett said the project had been delayed for several months, after a specialist heritage engineer was needed to complete the detailed design to repair the building.

"There was a shortage of engineers with these skills, due to high demand following the Christchurch earthquakes," he said.

Fairlie Community Board chairman Owen Hunter hoped the council would pick a preferred company within the next week.

"Really, it's taken so long that I just want to see something done," he said.

"The community wanted to repair the building, but if we had replaced it with something new, we wouldn't be waiting now."

The building is insured to the value of $686,000.

The Timaru Herald