Library relocation pushed back

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The Ashburton Public Library will now remain open until early next year due to construction delays in the new building, Te Whare Whakatere.
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Construction delays have pushed back the Ashburton Public Library’s move to the new library and civic centre.

It will now relocate early in the new year, and open in the new building on January 22.

Council chief executive Hamish Riach said it had become clear in recent days some parts of Te Whare Whakatere would not be ready for business by December 18.

‘‘The construction site shut down over the Christmas and New Year break has had a knock on effect and while we’re really disappointed, we have to be realistic.

“Our whole project team knew that getting everyone in by the end of the year was an important milestone.’’

He said the top floor where most staff will work, and level one, will be completed as scheduled, so council administration staff will relocate as planned.

However builders will still be putting finishing touches in public areas on the ground floor past that date.

The delay is not expected to add to the cost of the building, forecast earlier this year to overrun its $56.75 million budget by about 10 per cent. The cost of the build will be offset by a $20m shovel ready project grant from government.

The old library will stay open until early January then close for three weeks and council’s customer services team will operate from the old administration building until the new building’s ground floor is finished.

Staff working from Te Whare Whakatere from December 18 will include the regulatory, infrastructure, business support, democracy, and human resources teams, but there will be no public visitors or meetings there until the whole building is ready.

Riach said to have most staff working from the new building was positive and a dawn blessing of Te Whare Whakatere would continue as planned in December.

“Our 24/7 phone centre continues to operate as usual and residents who want to pay bills or talk to customer services staff face to face will still be able to do that at our old Baring Square West building until the public opening of Te Whare Whakatere on 22 January.”