Council Statement on the future of the Central Library

16 July 2020

Today Wellington City Council released a Statement of Proposal to gather the public views to inform decisions on the future of the Central Library in October.

Image of Mayor Andy Foster with Councillors Free and Fitzsimons in front of Central Library building

Mayor Andy Foster and Councillors will be asked to approve the Statement of Proposal at a full Council meeting on Tuesday 21 July. This decision will then kick-off a public consultation and engagement campaign which will run from Monday 27 July to 7 September 2020.

“This is an important decision for our city and Wellingtonians. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to set up the building and Central Library service to support our communities – preferably without further disruptions – for at least the next 50 years,” says Mayor Andy Foster.

“By opening the third and largest interim CBD library this Tuesday, people have three handy locations where they can access our much-missed Central Library services,” says Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, Portfolio Leader Libraries.

“We have done everything possible to speed up the decision-making process. Now we need to know what you think is the best option for creating a central library service which will continue to serve our diverse and growing communities over the long term.”

“The Central Library building plays a huge role in bringing people to Te Ngākau Civic Precinct and the inner city which we want to protect for future generations,” says Councillor Iona Pannett, Portfolio Leader Urban Development.

“Balancing this, alongside the many priorities facing our city, is why we need to hear what you think over the coming months.”

The Statement of Proposal outlines five options for retaining a Central Library service in Te Ngākau Civic Precinct. Three options would remediate the existing building to a low, mid, or high level. The remaining two options would build a new library on either the existing site or another site within Te Ngākau Civic Precinct.

The Local Government Act requires a preferred option and the paper recommends remediating the building to the highest level, including base isolation as this would:

  • provide the highest level of safety for people using the building during, and immediately following, a significant earthquake
  • see the services and building reopen quickly
  • reduce the likelihood of significant, costly repairs after an earthquake
  • reduce the need for additional strengthening to meet building regulation changes 
  • most likely protect the building’s heritage and will integrate more with Te Ngākau Civic Precinct
  • allow Council to future proof its ability to deliver an adaptable, modern Library Service.

Public consultation and engagement will begin on Monday 27 July with the launch of a consultation webpage where people can find information, ask questions, sign-up to receive regular updates, and find out how to share their views.

People will also be able to join Speaker Events, visit our Planning for Growth Tiny House pop-up information kiosk, or attend events at some library branches from mid-August. More details will be available at www.letstalk.wellington.govt.nz/central-library from Monday 27 July. 

You can find a copy of the Council paper and proposed Statement of Proposal on the Council website here from 3pm, Thursday 16 July.