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Mayor favours strengthening library, but cost could be $100m

Report from RNZ
Wellington mayor Justin Lester says that making the Central Library earthquake-safe could cost more than $100 million.

The building was closed in March [1] following engineering advice, and the council says detailed plans and costs are at least a year away. [2]

Mayor Justin Lester said today his first priority was to strengthen the building, rather than pull it down.

He said initial advice showed getting it to 100 percent of code would likely require base-isolation – and all the options were expensive.

“Potentially more than $100 million, but with uncertainty around it. So that’s very early level concept figures and that’s why we need to do more work, and that’s why it also brings in the question of the future of the building.”

Mr Lester said he was not interested in partnering with a private developer to bring down the costs of strengthening or rebuilding, because libraries were a public service and should remain in public ownership.

May 10: Justin Lester says demolition likely for library [3]