Rebuild likely for damaged Fairlie icon

JACQUIE WEBBY
Last updated 06:30 12/12/2013
fairlie old library cafe
NATASHA MARTIN/ Fairfax NZ
FIRE DAMAGE: The Mackenzie District Council should know the fate of the Old Library Cafe building soon.

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Fairlie's iconic Old Library building could be set to rise from the ashes, providing a satisfactory tender price is received.

Mackenzie District Councillors have voted to support the rebuilding of the council-owned building, which was badly damaged by fire in October 2011.

Fairlie residents had earlier supported repairing the existing building, rather than rebuilding.

Both options were canvassed in a survey through local newsletter Fairlie Accessible, and at public meetings in June and November.

The survey resulted in 64 people supporting the repair option and 13 in favour of a new build.

An indicative vote at a public meeting on June 11 most also supported repair.

The third vote was taken at a public meeting on November 14, with eight people supporting the repair option and one wanting a new construction.

Councillors were told a realistic/conservative price estimate to rebuild the Old Library would be $585,000, and a new building would have a price tag of $676,000.

Mackenzie mayor Claire Barlow said the building had been an eyesore for two years.

"From the survey and public meetings, community preferences are for the rebuild. Anecdotal evidence is in favour of keeping the iconic building, providing tenders come in at an affordable price.

"If the fire hadn't happened, we wouldn't be having this discussion."

Cr Graham Smith said he would like to see the tenders called quickly.

Council chief executive Wayne Barnett said the cost of the building, apart from the insurance excess of $5000, would be met by insurance funding.

"Once tenders are called and one is accepted, an ideal timeline to start work would be late summer 2014, with completion around winter time, 2014."

The building, registered as category 2 with the Historic Places Trust, once housed Fairlie's library and last operated as an award-winning cafe.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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