Greerton library hopes dashed

By John Cousins

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Greerton's hopes of getting a new library have been dashed after the council today responded to pressure to sort out the city's flood problems first.

The $3.3 million project to double the size of the old existing library will now have to take its chances when the council reconsiders the project next year.

It had been planned to fund the new 900 sq m building without hitting ratepayers' pockets by selling neighbouring shops bought to make way for a new library and from $1.8 million of development contributions.

But the council decided 7-4 not to proceed with the project this year. Most were persuaded by the impact of the storm that flooded areas of Mount Maunganui and Matua six weeks ago.

Mount councillor David Stewart led the debate against using the $1.3 million proceeds from the sale of the shopping block to help fund the library.

He was surprised that the plan to sell the shopping block to fund a new library had not gone out for public consultation.

Cr Stewart argued that there were areas of the city where the flood waters caused sewage to run through houses. If the shopping block was surplus then the money from its sale should be used where it was needed the most.

"We must see our priorities are flooding and dealing with it now rather than later. A new library will have to wait."

Cr Terry Molloy said everyone had huge sympathy for people whose homes were flooded but the shopping block was bought solely for the purpose of developing a new library. Dealing with the city's flooding problems needed short and long-term strategies.

He said the land would not be sold to help fund new flood protection works.

After the vote for the new library was defeated, pro-library councillor Larry Baldock tried to call the council's bluff by asking that the proceeds from the sale of the shops be put into flood relief works.

However the sublety of what he was trying to achieve seemed to get lost and his motion lapsed for want of a seconder.

Opposing the new library were Mayor Stuart Crosby and councillors Rick Curach, Bill Faulkner, Murray Guy, Wayne Moultrie, Catherine Stewart and David Stewart. In favour were councillors Larry Baldock, Tony Christiansen, Bill Grainger and Terry Molloy.

 

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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