Media release from Councillor Helene Ritchie
A cunning political manoeuvre has ensured that the construction of a new Johnsonville library will be brought forward – with detailed design drawings and resource consent application commencing immediately.
The new Johnsonville Library will be part of the community hub, and will itself be a hub for the community.
Councillor Helene Ritchie yesterday secured funding of $250,000 in this year’s draft Annual Plan by facilitating an amendment which included other City-wide improvements proposed by two other councilors – Councillor Marsh who secured funding for completion of works in Kilbirnie Shopping Centre, and Councillor Eagle who secured funding for further city-wide graffiti cleanup.
The amendment which included all three elements was won by a resounding 13:2 vote. Only Councillors Pannett and Foster opposed it. Councillor Foster, then tried, unsuccessfully in a 14:1 vote, to take out the Johnsonville Library.
All three councillors , Ritchie, Eagle, Marsh and the Council were “chuffed” with the outcome – a result of working together to come up with an agreed position.
Councillor Ritchie told the Council that the Johnsonville Library replacement was first mooted in 2006 in the Johnsonville Town Centre Plan and at the time after extensive consultation received “strong support.”
In 2009, frustrated by no action, she moved a successful amendment supported by Councillors Wade-Brown and Pannett, to ensure that an upgraded library be built next door to the Keith Spry Pool. Between 2010-13 council staff and councillors again deferred the project and looked at a range of locations.
In 2011, 4 potential sites were consulted on and the Northern ward public and council again agreed that the site co-located with the Keith Spry Pool was the best.
It was always the intention from 2006 to have a community hub -with a library as part of it – on the site which currently has the community centre, Keith Spry pool, park, sports and preschool facilities.
The current library is poor, has lacked maintenance, is undersize for a population in Northern the size of a city and its location is far from community facilities.