Fix or demolish: residents to get say on keeping damaged library

Wellingtonians are facing a $200 million bill if the council decides to upgrade the central city’s earthquake-prone library.

Wellington Central Library

Residents will have a chance to say if Wellington City Library should stay or be replaced. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

It shut last year after an engineering assessment found the building’s precast concrete floors could collapse in a big earthquake.

Councillors will next week be updated on future options for the building and they are expected to agree to consult the public over the coming months.

A briefing document for the meeting released today showed options to refit and strengthen the current building, as well as starting all over again with a new library.

The option to refit the current building to a high standard is estimated at $199.8m.

However, a completely new build is put at $160.7m.

Read the full report (PDF 921KB)

Mayor Andy Foster said it was an important facility that was used by 3000 people each day.

“We want a resilient, modern, exciting central library service which welcomes Wellingtonians and visitors, and connects them with the wider precinct,” he said.

He would not be drawn on his preferred option, saying it was up to the public to decide.

Foster drew inspiration though from Christchurch’s new library, as well as one in Johnsonville.

“These will help set the scene for thinking about the different ways we may read, learn and play in our future Central Library,” he said.

Foster said a decision on the final option to put in the council’s long-term plan would be made in November.

A future library would be at least five years away, he said.

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Tūranga, Christchurch City Library. Photo: Tūranga / Charl Scheepers

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