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New Library In Onehunga To Go Ahead

A September decision to build a new library and community centre for the residents of Onehunga was reconfirmed on Friday, February 2 at Auckland City Council’s Community Development Committee meeting.

After listening to presentations from Community Board members, Chairperson, Councillor Penny Sefuiva, thanked those involved for their energy, interest and time spent on the issue.

“The committee has made a difficult decision, especially in light of the extra $1.3 million cost involved in refurbishing the old building and the compromises reuse would create for library functions,” she says.

“Substantial consultation has already taken place in the community and there has been considerable input from top design professionals. The Committee would be short-changing its citizens if we did not look forward to future needs. There would also be substantial costs in cancelling contracts already committed to.”

Councillor Sefuiva said that while one building will be lost, the community will benefit from having a community facility purpose-built to incorporate the changing needs of an ethnically diverse community and modern technology.

“Although we have decided to move forward with a new building on the Church Street site, we are also working proactively to preserve the historic community centre on the hill,” she says.

“We consider it extremely important to keep a local icon such as the old schoolhouse in full public use. We are making sure that central government is fully informed of the use the building presently fills for large numbers of people and what could be its most appropriate future purpose.

“There are examples of other education buildings in the city which have been very effectively adapted for today’s activities, without losing the warmth and history their local communities value,” says Councillor Sefuiva.

The local MP, Phil Goff, will be involved in ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Education, which owns the building.

“It’s tremendously positive, we can continue to acknowledge and honour the past whilst looking ahead to the future,” says Councillor Sefuiva.


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