New Library and Cultural Facility
A new library, arts, culture and public space - looking to the future
In 2011 an independent review of all our library services identified the need for a larger library in Hawera. The review found that the Library was too small for the number of people using it (approximately half the size recommended to service a population of Hawera and surrounds), which limited the services and programmes that a modern library normally provides. The review recommended Council create a combined facility for library, arts, culture and heritage services (we’ll call it a ‘Civic Centre’ for short) along with considering the relocation of the i-SITE visitor centre and bus stop. This recommendation was timely given that Council was considering ways of addressing issues Hawera faced relating to earthquake prone buildings, the lack of good quality public toilets and the need to revitalise the town centre.
As part of its 2015 – 2015 Long Term Plan the Council decided to build a ‘Civic Centre’ which would include a bigger library (including meeting rooms, computer suite and multi-use spaces), public toilets, an art gallery and heritage exhibition space, the i-SITE information centre and bus stop. Possibly additional retail space and a café could be considered if private business wanted to enter some sort of joint venture. This facility will be a key anchor project in the Hawera Town Centre Upgrade and will have the potential to efficiently combine a number of facilities onto one site, bringing much needed foot traffic, visitors and vibrancy to the town centre (rather than to the current location of the i-SITE Visitor Centre and bus stop on the edge of the CBD).
The cost of this development is estimated to be $6 million. The Council has agreed to contribute up to $3.6 million to the facility with the rest coming from external grants and sponsorship. Council’s contribution will be funded by taking out a loan. Annual drawdowns from the Council’s Long Term Investment Fund (LTIF) will be used repay the loan over a number of years. This would mean there would be no impact on rates to fund the project.
Over the past few months, Council has been investigating a suitable site for the new facility, which will be based on location, cost and a willingness of owners to sell to sell their property to the Council.
In August this year, the Council appointed Wellington based firm Warren and Mahoney to be the lead architect for the design of the facility. Their work will begin in earnest once a site has been secured.
Update on Progress - Tuesday, December 20, 2016
A major milestone in the Hawera town centre redevelopment project has been achieved today with the announcement that the South Taranaki District Council (STDC) has secured land in the CBD to build the new Centre for Heritage, Arts, Library, Culture and Information (CHALCI).
South Taranaki Mayor, Ross Dunlop, says the Council has purchased two properties on the corner of Regent and High streets in the middle of town (see picture below).
“The new facility will be a key anchor project in the Hawera Town Centre Upgrade and will have the potential to combine a number of facilities onto one site, bringing much needed foot traffic, visitors and vibrancy to the town centre,” he says.
Mayor Dunlop says the new facility would include a bigger library, meeting rooms, public toilets, an art gallery and heritage exhibition space, the i-SITE information centre and a cafe. Possibly additional retail space could be considered if private business wanted to enter some sort of joint venture.
“Now that the site has been confirmed, we’ll be able to start work on the design of the new facility, which will involve plenty of consultation with key stakeholders. There’s a lot of planning and preparation to be done and we realistically don’t expect construction to start for another 12 – 18 months,” he says.
The Hawera Town Centre redevelopment is one of the key projects Council identified in its 2015 – 2025 Long Term Plan. Work is expected to be finished on the first town centre project, Campbell Lane, in late March 2017.
Mayor Dunlop says the Council is funding its contributions to the town centre project by way of loans, which are paid back from annual drawdowns from the Council’s Long Term Investment Fund (LTIF) This means there is no impact on rates to fund the project.