Fire-ravaged cafe's final fate still to be decided

ROSA STUDHOLME
Last updated 05:00 14/06/2013
old library cafe
NATASHA MARTIN/ Fairfax NZ

FIRE-DAMAGED: The Old Library Cafe in Fairlie.

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To rebuild or replace - that is the question for the Fairlie community.

Plans are being drawn up for both options for the town's iconic Old Library Cafe.

The council-owned cafe was badly damaged in a fire in October 2011, wrecking much of the interior and most of the exterior.

A public meeting on Tuesday night to discuss its future, which attracted about 40 people, was "honest and open", Fairlie Community Board chairman Owen Hunter said.

The insurer has offered two options: the demolition of the building and claiming its indemnity value of $272,000, or replacing it with a new one.

"‘We definitely want to retain it, but we'd quite like to improve it.

"It's just getting the mix right," Mr Hunter said. "We have the insurance money and I believe it may be cheaper to rebuild than repair ... but we need to cost it out more accurately."

Costings for the two options should be available this month, which will then be put to the insurer.

The insurer has previously said it would be too expensive to repair.

The time taken getting the cafe back up and running was "frustrating", Mr Hunter said.

"We would like to have had it happen a lot quicker. The cafe was significant to the town - the fact that it is 99 years old and it's probably one of the older buildings."

The community board will hold another public meeting with costings.

The building is registered as category 2 with the Historic Places Trust.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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