Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Rotorua shared library and health hub work to start

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Last year, Rosemary Michie (left) and Anita Stanley, put together a petition to stop plans to build a new children's health hub and combined library facility.
Last year, Rosemary Michie (left) and Anita Stanley, put together a petition to stop plans to build a new children's health hub and combined library facility.

Rotorua Lakes Council is set to sign off on a contract for its shared library and health hub facility with work expected to begin mid-October.

In August, councillors voted 8-4 to pass a recommendation to give council staff the authority to sign off on a pending contract to build the $12.8 million facility which is a collaboration between the council and the Lakes District Health Board. The DHB has committed almost $4 million toward its development.

When complete, the health board will set up a children's health facility in the building and will pay rent to the council.

During August's meeting, the council's chief operating officer Dave Foster told councillors a contract would soon be signed with Fletcher Construction after six companies expressed an interest in the project and the council could not afford any delays.

Wednesday Mr Foster said a final contract was just days away from being signed and it would be "comfortably within the $12.8m budget".

He said the scope of the project had not changed in any way during contract negotiations.

"In terms of timing, the project is on track and we expect structural work on the building to start mid-October," he said.

"Relocation of library services to temporary premises in the inner city is giving us the opportunity to experiment with new, modern services we could introduce in our future library.

"We have the chance to trial these now and implement what works when we move back to Haupapa St."

Mr Foster said library staff were trialling self-issue machines in the temporary library and were about to introduce e-magazines.

"In an effort to reach a wider section of the community, particularly adults, library staff are also developing new programmes including an environmental/sustainable living lecture series, a support group for grandparents who are raising grandchildren, business-related seminars on topics like entrepreneurship and small business development and community law and Justice of the Peace services."

He said staff were also working with the museum to provide access to community archives and were exploring a range of technology options such as mobile technologies, touch screen computers, tablets and other devices for use in the library to provide more digital learning opportunities.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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