15 July 2020
New Gore Library Gets Major Funding Boost
Gore District residents could be using a new, modern library by early 2022 thanks to a funding boost from the Government.
Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones today announced the allocation of $3million for a new Gore Library and $1million for remedial work at the Gore Multisports Complex.
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said the library funding was a game changer for the Gore District Council.
“This will enable us to deliver a state-of-the-art library for residents about 18 months sooner than we were planning and at much less cost to ratepayers.”
The Council already has $1million from Mataura Valley Milk for the project, which will cost an estimated $5million.
The Gore library was forced to temporarily move to the James Cumming Wing hall in May last year after black mould and asbestos were discovered in the Norfolk Street building.
The more central location has proved popular with customers.
Mr Hicks said residents will have an important role in the development of the new library.
“Libraries have become more than a repository for books, they are community spaces where people access information in a variety of ways or just hang out.
“We will be asking residents to provide us with their vision for the library, a wish list if you like of what they would like to be able to access and see in the entire building.”
There were some outstanding examples throughout the country of modern, future-proofed libraries.
“While we will learn from these, we also need to know what our residents want. The James Cumming Wing has long been a community hub, but what worked when it was opened in 1974 probably doesn’t work so well today.”
The grant will also allow the Council to renovate the James Cumming Wing – “it’s been long overdue for a makeover.”
The community needs to make the most of the opportunities presented by today’s funding announcement, Mr Hicks said.
Gore Libraries Manager Lorraine Weston-Webb said the feedback staff have already received from customers is that they want areas to talk on the phone, informal seating to meet others without disturbing the whole library, individual and group study spaces, and a dedicated teen space.
“Our customers are looking for a hub that provides them with comfortable seating in a warm, well ventilated building with lots of natural lighting.”
Chief executive Stephen Parry acknowledged that earlier this year the Council had said it would consult the community on a location for the new library.
“At that time we were looking at a project primarily funded by ratepayers and there were a range of location options on the table, including returning to the old building even though we knew it was too small.”
The successful application to the Government’s Shovel Ready infrastructure project fund has significantly changed the dynamics of this project, Mr Parry said.
The future of the old library building would be the next discussion on the table, now that the location of a new library has been finalised.
“Given it’s in the arts and heritage precinct and so close to the Eastern Southland Gallery, Hokonui Moonshine Museum and Maruawai Centre, logic would suggest it could be converted into some type of visitor attraction,” Mr Parry said.
The $1million for the Gore Multisports Complex will be used to replace the roof in the aquatic centre plant room and reception area, as well as the MLT Event Centre.
The complex has been a recreational jewel in the District since it was opened 17 years ago. However, over time the roof has deteriorated and started leaking.
Gore Aquatics Manager Martin Mackereth said the funding will also cover improvements to the ventilation system in the filtration plant room to minimise the corrosive environment and construct safe access to the roof to access the condenser fan units.
“We cater for about 55,000 customers a year at the event centre. It’s an important hub for the entire District, where people come together to play, socialise and forget about challenges going on in their lives,” he said.