Our Wellington

News | 28 October 2020

Central Library gets strengthening vote

Wellington’s Mayor and City Councillors today voted to strengthen Wellington’s Central Library, based on revised preliminary design, timeframes and cost information.

Artist impression of proposed Wellington Central Library from Harris Street

“Restoring our much-loved Central Library service as quickly as possible has been our priority and today we voted for ‘Option C’ - to strengthen the building to the highest level to reopen by May 2025. Work will now commence on detailed design, interior options and services design,” says Mayor Andy Foster.

“The robust additional design work involving engineers, architects, quantity surveyors and the construction sector has reduced the costs and risks of Option C compared to the new-build options. Although Options D and C are equally popular, the timeframe for Option C would see the doors open sooner – which is something we all want. This is a great news day for our city.

“I want to thank elected members, officers and eternal experts and the 1456 people who made submissions - which helped us immensely in our decision making,” says Mayor Foster.

“Getting the Central Library back open has been a priority for me, and I am pleased we are progressing the option which will see work begin on restoring this iconic building immediately,” says Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, the Council’s Libraries Portfolio Leader.

“The decision of the Council today protects this iconic and important building for Wellingtonians to use well into the future.

“The Council also agreed to ensure that we are making the library more accessible and that we consider ways to optimise the footprint of the building.”

Now Option C has been adopted, it will be incorporated in the draft Long-term Plan (LTP). This gives Wellingtonians another opportunity to consider the project alongside the Council’s financial position and other priorities for our city, including three-waters investment and Let’s Get Wellington Moving.

The LTP consultation will begin in March 2021 and will describe Option C in more detail, alongside updated information for all the other options which were considered. In June 2021 the Council will consider the consultation results and make the final decision on the project to be included in the final LTP.

The Central Library was not damaged in the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes, however it was re-assessed after a change to the Government’s seismic performance assessment criteria guidelines for buildings. A decision was made to close the building on 19 March 2019, including the public car park and the footpath around the library.

More information on the revised costs and recommendations is available in the paper on the Council website.