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8 September 2020

Lots of Ideas for New Library & Community Hub

Innovative spaces for children, lots of natural lighting and safe parking are among the ideas for Gore’s new library and redeveloped James Cumming Wing.

A wide range of ideas and issues have been put forward over the last couple of weeks as the Gore District Council asked people for their aspirations for the new community hub.

The Gore Library and Community Spaces Redevelopment involves a complete overhaul of the James Cumming Wing to create contemporary, appealing spaces for all the community, to meet current and future needs.

The redevelopment will not only accommodate the library’s book collection, it will also include rooms and spaces for community use.

Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said many small clubs and community activities were displaced when the Gore library had to suddenly relocate to the James Cumming Wing, followed a few months later by Council administration staff.

The redevelopment was as much about community spaces where people can meet or relax, as it was about books and reading.

“We want to make sure we can welcome as many of the displaced groups as possible back into a new fit for purpose community hub,” he said.

The Government’s recent decision to give $3 million towards redeveloping the Gore library, within the footprint of the James Cumming Wing, had been the catalyst to start the project in earnest.

“The funding is tied to the JC Wing. While not everyone agrees it’s the right location for the library, we need to remember it is money for two significant community assets – the library and the Wing - that ratepayers won’t have to front up with.”

Gore District Librarian Lorraine Weston-Webb said the project had certainly generated a lot of interest – “it seems to be the one thing everyone wants to talk to us (library staff) about”.

A lot of people’s comments were around the need for natural lighting, and creating opportunities for families to interact with the library, such as Lego and children’s play areas.

Good internet connectivity, workstations, power points and hot desks were popular ideas.
“People also wanted some aspects of the old location, such as the water feature, re-created in the new location.”

Communications/Marketing Manager Sonia Gerken said the Council’s new engagement platform Let’s Talk Kōreo Mai had enabled the Council to reach far wider into the community than previously.

“We had 456 visits to the project page within two weeks and 22 contributions on our ideas tool.

“These are encouraging numbers given the short timeframe we had to gather ideas and that this platform is a new way for people to engage with the Council.”

There were also two community workshops. Among the main points to come from the workshops were people’s desire for a flexible large area, and warm community spaces.

“It’s as much about creating the right atmosphere. One suggestion was to have a piano in the foyer as a way to bring people together.”

All the ideas and feedback have been provided to the project team and architects. The next step will be producing draft designs for further community feedback.

Mr Hicks thanked those who had taken part in the process so far – “we look forward to continuing the conversation”.

Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: info@goredc.govt.nz