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New Library, Arts And Cultural Centre Gets Consent Approval

Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga, South Taranaki’s new Library, Culture and Arts Centre, took a major step closer this week with consent being granted for the project.

The decision follows a Resource Consent Hearing held on 30 June by Independent Commissioner, Alan Withy. Because the Council is both the applicant and the consenting authority, an independent commissioner was engaged to make the decision.

South Taranaki Mayor, Phil Nixon, says the decision meant work could start on the new centre within the next few months.

“The next step is to put tenders out for the demolition and construction work, and subject to the appeal period, we are ready to go.”

Mayor Nixon says Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga is a key anchor project in the Hāwera town centre redevelopment which will also be a big boost to the District's post COVID-19 recovery.

“It will bring more foot traffic, visitors and vibrancy to the CBD, provide enhanced community services, create jobs and economic stimulus at this crucial time and improve connectivity for both the South Taranaki community and for visitors to the District,” says Mayor Nixon.

Located on the corner of High and Regent Streets, the new 1605m2 building combines a number of facilities onto one site, including a bigger library, meeting rooms, public toilets, an art gallery and heritage exhibition space, i-SITE visitor centre and café.

“Te Ramanui won’t just be a community and visitor hub, it will be a catalyst for driving change and increasing investment which we believe will transform the town centre,” he says.

The building, designed by architects Warren and Mahoney, takes environmental sustainability into account wherever possible, which helps keep ongoing operational costs to a minimum.

Mayor Nixon says the Council is contributing $4.8 million towards the facility, with $3.2 million being sought from external funding. The TSB Community Trust has granted $2.8 million towards the project. The Council’s contribution is being loan-funded. Earnings from the Council’s Long Term Investment Fund (LTIF) will be used to repay the loan over a number of years so there is no impact on rates to fund this development.

Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga means the beacon or signal fire of Ruapūtahanga, a famous Taranaki Māori ancestress. Ruapūtahanga would light the beacon as a signal for Iwi to meet so they could talk, share ideas and knowledge.

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