News | 17 March 2020
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Te Ngakau and Central Library to be discussed by Council next week

Options for returning Te Ngākau Civic Precinct to being a resilient, lively and distinctly Wellington heart of the city will be discussed by the Mayor and Councillors on Wednesday 25 March.

Image of central library frontage
Wellington's Central Library closed on 20 March 2019

“For over 100 years Te Ngākau Civic Precinct has been the strong cultural and civic heart to our city,” Mayor Andy Foster says.

“Unfortunately over the past decade the Precinct has suffered the combined effects of earthquakes in 2013 and 2016; aging and inflexible support services, and the relocation of key services following the closure of some locations, including our much-loved Central Library.

“Today elected members attended a pre-briefing on options and recommendations for developing Te Ngākau Civic Precinct. This included the future Precinct spatial plan, future central city library services and an update on the Central Library building itself.”

The briefing also covered the required processes for how the Council redevelops and enhances Te Ngākau Civic Precinct, how to deliver a modern refreshed central library service and the engineering and cost estimates for the Central Library building itself.

“What is clear is any investment decision needs to focus on providing highly-resilient options for the long term, which aligns with other key initiatives such as Planning for Growth and Let’s Get Wellington Moving,” Mayor Foster says.

“It also needs to be cognisant of long-term sea level rise issues. This way we will protect and enhance Te Ngākau Civic Precinct as a place where people can meet to socialise, enjoy the arts and culture, and access a range of services.

“Wellingtonians have told us they want Te Ngākau Civic Precinct brought back to life, and that’s what we’re working towards. It will be really challenging but there are huge opportunities for all of us to creatively rethink the heart of our city. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, for example to better activate and link the space to the buildings and streets around it.

“In all of this we’re deeply conscious of the costs associated with this work. Options for strengthening and redeveloping the Central Library alone range from $96 million to $205 million (for a highly resilient scheme). In addition to the structural work, the figures include building services and fit out upgrades that are required. Costs for a new build were also provided for the sake of comparison and context, and these cost comparisons were based on a highly-resilient build option – ones that would survive an earthquake and still be operable.

“We’re also conscious of the economic impact of the COVID-19 on our city and the people who work here. How we balance this will be the focus of discussions at the Council meeting on Wednesday 25 March.

“There is a long way to go on these issues and there will be opportunity for the public to have their say on these issues including formal public consultation, towards the middle of the year. In the meantime people can give any thoughts to their Councillors. The briefing report will be published on the Wellington City Council website on Friday 20 March.