Future of the Central Library consultation

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Future of the Central Library Consultation

The Central Library has been our city’s living room and a vital part of our vibrant inner city for decades. The building itself isn’t safe to use. There are several ways to make it safe for people to be in, which also brings new possibilities in using the space. This is our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to set up the central library to continue to support Wellington's diverse communities for at least the next 50 years.

Before decisions can be made on the future Central Library in October 2020 - we need to know what you think!

We have developed a Statement of Proposal (SOP) outlining the issues with the building, the practicable options available and the factors they were assessed against to help you make your decision. We will also running events at our libraries; the Planning for Growth information kiosk and online - so register for the latest news.

What are the options being proposed?
The Statement of Proposal outlines five options for retaining a central library service in Te Ngākau Civic Precinct.

The Statement of Proposal also includes options which were discarded, with the reasons why.

Why does the proposal suggest modernising the library?
While the priority is on re-establishing a Central Library, we also are responsible for ensuring the new service can meet the needs of Wellington’s future generations. While providing access to books and other physical and digital collections will continue to be a core service, we can also offer people access new technologies, spaces and services which support life-long learning, connection and community.

How were the five proposed options decided and others discarded?
Each of the options were assessed against a range of factors. They included the building's resilience and safety; how it could support a modern library service over the next 50 or more years; the costs and timeframes; how it connects and enlivens Te Ngākau Civic Precinct and how it may affect the environment.

How can I share my views?

Fill out the online submission below, or download and print the PDF version and post it into the Council for free.

We would like to know what option you prefer, and what factors you valued most in making your decision. Or you can provide an alternative option.

You have until 5pm, Monday 7 September to share your views with us.

Why did we close the Central Library?
New guidelines for concrete buildings, which were developed by the engineering community and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) found the Central Library structure and floor system design posed a high level of potential failure in a significant earthquake, and met 15-20 percent of the National Building Standard. On that basis, the Council’s Chief Executive closed the building to the public on 19 March 2019.

The Central Library has been our city’s living room and a vital part of our vibrant inner city for decades. The building itself isn’t safe to use. There are several ways to make it safe for people to be in, which also brings new possibilities in using the space. This is our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to set up the central library to continue to support Wellington's diverse communities for at least the next 50 years.

Before decisions can be made on the future Central Library in October 2020 - we need to know what you think!

We have developed a Statement of Proposal (SOP) outlining the issues with the building, the practicable options available and the factors they were assessed against to help you make your decision. We will also running events at our libraries; the Planning for Growth information kiosk and online - so register for the latest news.

What are the options being proposed?
The Statement of Proposal outlines five options for retaining a central library service in Te Ngākau Civic Precinct.

The Statement of Proposal also includes options which were discarded, with the reasons why.

Why does the proposal suggest modernising the library?
While the priority is on re-establishing a Central Library, we also are responsible for ensuring the new service can meet the needs of Wellington’s future generations. While providing access to books and other physical and digital collections will continue to be a core service, we can also offer people access new technologies, spaces and services which support life-long learning, connection and community.

How were the five proposed options decided and others discarded?
Each of the options were assessed against a range of factors. They included the building's resilience and safety; how it could support a modern library service over the next 50 or more years; the costs and timeframes; how it connects and enlivens Te Ngākau Civic Precinct and how it may affect the environment.

How can I share my views?

Fill out the online submission below, or download and print the PDF version and post it into the Council for free.

We would like to know what option you prefer, and what factors you valued most in making your decision. Or you can provide an alternative option.

You have until 5pm, Monday 7 September to share your views with us.

Why did we close the Central Library?
New guidelines for concrete buildings, which were developed by the engineering community and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) found the Central Library structure and floor system design posed a high level of potential failure in a significant earthquake, and met 15-20 percent of the National Building Standard. On that basis, the Council’s Chief Executive closed the building to the public on 19 March 2019.

  • Share your views on the Future of the Central Library

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    9 days ago

    MEDIA RELEASE - Monday 27 July 2020

    Today marks the start of a six-week public consultation to gather Wellingtonians’ views on restoring the Central Library service in the heart of the city.

    “We know how frustrating the closure of the Central Library building is, which is why we sped up the decision-making as quickly as the Local Government Act allowed us to,” says Mayor Andy Foster. “We are looking forward to hearing Wellingtonians views and we also want to bring life back to Te Ngākau Civic Precinct.”

    “The building itself is deemed unsafe for people to be in, and there are several ways to remedy this, which also creates new possibilities in how we create the space to meet the changing needs of our growing modern city.”

    “The Central Library has been treasured by generations of Wellingtonians as a special place in the heart of our city,” said Libraries Portfolio holder Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons.

    “I encourage all Wellingtonians, young and old to have a say about the future of the Library. We need to hear your questions, your views and your aspirations for our Central Library so we can make a good decision that will be well supported by residents.”

    “The Statement of Proposal outlines five options for retaining a Central Library service in Te Ngākau Civic Precinct,” says Councillor Iona Pannett, Portfolio Leader for Resilient Buildings. “Three remediate the existing building to a low, mid, or high level and two more suggest building a new library on either the existing site or another site within Te Ngākau Civic Precinct.

    “It also discusses other options which have been discarded, as they were not practicable. We are keen to understand what options you prefer, and the factors behind your decision, or whether you prefer another option.”

    Sign up at https://www.letstalk.wellington.govt.nz/central-library to stay-up-to-date with the latest news, find out when events are happening near you and read the Statement of Proposal on the Future of Central Library Consultation. Paper copies of both documents will be available at all library branches from Monday 27 July.

    Everyone is invited to complete a submission form between Monday 27 July and 5pm, Monday 7 September.

    The public are also welcome to make their submission in person to the Strategy and Policy Committee on Wednesday 22 September. To do this, select this option in your submission form.


  • Option A – Low-level remediation

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    11 days ago

    Under this option the structural issues of highest concern are addressed so the building is safe to re-open. The building is likely to be damaged and need repair after a significant earthquake. The construction work would remove much of the internal fit-out and this would need to be replaced resulting in the building interior being refreshed. The Central Library would look largely the same as it did before it closed.

    Key elements of this option are:
    Structural remediation: Minor interior refresh:
    • Addresses immediate life safety issues: achieves approximately 40% NBS
    • New internal walls, ceilings and floor coverings
    • Achieves low level of building resilience
    • Improved layout, upgraded fixtures and fittings.
    • Installs additional supports for floors and central stairs

    • Improves fixings which support the external panels that clad the building


    • Minor strengthening of the building frame.


    Advantages Disadvantages
    • Building is retained and immediate life safety issues addressed
    • 40% NBS rating (approximately)
    • Library service restored within shortest timeframe
    • Low level of building resilience
    • Lowest cost of all the options
    • High likelihood of building being closed again (and a new interim library service needed) due to either substantial (and potentially unrepairable) damage following a significant earthquake or more strengthening work due to significant risk the building would be classified earthquake prone if building regulations are revised in the future. Risk of unbudgeted costs.
    • Some sustainability improvements due to upgraded building services
    • No or limited improvement to accessibility and connection to the wider Te Ngākau Civic Precinct
    • Some minor improvements to library service
    • Lack of resilience puts heritage at risk of loss

    • No mitigation for climate change risks

    • Minimal opportunities for partnerships


    At a glance
    Cost
    $76.3m-$90.8m

    Increase for Average Residential Ratepayer each of 35 years of building life


    $38.70-$46.30 pa
    Indicative opening date
    November 2023
  • Option B – Mid-level remediation

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    11 days ago

    Under this option the building would be strengthened to approximately 80% NBS. It addresses the structural issues of highest concern and increases the building’s ability to withstand a significant earthquake. It would increase the likelihood the building could be re-occupied safely after an earthquake; however, the building is likely to still sustain damage during a significant earthquake. More intrusive construction work is needed so more of the current fit-out would need to be removed and replaced, resulting in a higher level of interior refresh, which in turn provides an opportunity for some library service enhancements. It includes the possibility for improved accessibility and connections to Te Ngākau Civic Precinct and Harris Street.


    Key elements of this option are:


    Structural remediation: Significant interior refresh:
    • Addresses immediate life safety issues: achieves approximately 80% NBS

    • In addition to the minor interior refresh in low-level

      remediation, this option would also provide the opportunity to improve the accessibility to the building

    • Achieves mid-level of building resilience

    • In addition to the low-level remediation elements this option also stiffens the walls and adds bracing to cushion the impact of an earthquake


    Advantages Disadvantages
    • Building is retained and immediate life safety issues are addressed
    • Building still has a reasonable likelihood of being damaged and closed in a significant earthquake, disrupting service (risking heritage features and unbudgeted costs).
    • Higher NBS rating of approximately 80%
    • Relatively high cost to achieve only moderate level of building resilience
    • Likelihood of future building closures following an earthquake is reduced
    • Risk of heritage loss in significant earthquake
    • Possibility for improved accessibility and connections to Te Ngākau Civic Precinct
    • Takes longer to re-open library than low-level remediation option
    • Potential for some library service improvements and for some opportunities for partnerships
    • Some risk of closure due to more strengthening requirements from future changes in building regulations.
    • Some improvement to sustainability due to upgraded building services and nominal increase in buildings life expectancy.
    • No climate change mitigation


    At a glance
    Cost $131.2m - $151.8m

    Increase for Average Residential Ratepayer each of 42 years of building life

    $57.30-$67.60 pa
    Indicative opening date
    September 2024


    Early Concept image – Glazed North Façade, terraced flooring, and integration with streetscape.

    Image: Athfield Architects Limited

  • Option C – High-level remediation (preferred option)

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    11 days ago

    This option is preferred as it delivers the safest and most resilient solution for the Central Library building. This means that further closures due to earthquake damage or additional strengthening won’t be required. Although the initial strengthening work is expensive it removes future costs arising due to earthquake damage or strengthening requirements (if building regulations change). It also increases the building’s life expectancy more than the other remediation options. This option delivers service continuity for the Central Library service, future proofs our ability to deliver an adaptable modern library service and explore partnerships. It also allows us to mitigate some climate change impacts in the future. The building’s heritage will be retained, and it will integrate more with Te Ngākau Civic Precinct and the surrounding streets through additional entrances, views, landscaping and improved accessibility.

    Under this option the building’s structural issues would be mitigated to the highest extent possible. It includes work from the low and mid-range remediation options, plus it base isolates the building. Base isolation would mean the building would likely be safe to occupy during and after a significant earthquake, meaning it is most likely to be open afterwards. This option involves the most intrusive construction work and therefore creates the opportunity to fully upgrade the building and immediate surrounds, including connections to Te Ngākau Civic Precinct and Harris Street, and modernise how it works as a library, community and public space for the long term.

    Key elements of this option are:
    Structural remediation: Significant refresh and remodel:
    • Address immediate life safety issues: achieves an NBS in excess of 100%

    In addition to the minor and significant interior refresh, it creates the potential for –

    • Achieves high level of building resilience
    • major layout reconfiguration of collections, facilities and activity spaces
    • In addition to the low and mid-level remediation elements, installs a base isolation system
    • opportunity to deliver new and enhanced services

    • new shared spaces for community and civic activities

    • stronger connections to Te Ngākau Civic

      Precinct and the surrounding areas.


    • Improved accessibility


    At a glance
    Cost $174.4m - $199.8m

    Increase for Average Residential Ratepayer each of 50 years of building life


    $74.30-$86.20pa
    Indicative opening date May 2025


    Advantages Disadvantages
    • Building is retained
    • Highest cost of remediation options
    • Achieves highest level of life safety with an NBS rating in excess of 100%
    • Longest timeframe of remediation options to re-open the Central library building
    • High level of building resilience with minimal risk of future building closures from earthquakes or changes to building regulations
    • Base isolation requires use of some basement space
    • Most likely to preserve the building’s heritage elements

    • Opportunity to fully modernise the library service spaces and facilities

    • Building remodel would provide significant improved accessibility, activation and connection to Te Ngākau Civic Precinct

    • Best ability to mitigate the effects of sea level rise for existing library building

    • Significant opportunities for partnerships

    • Improved sustainability outcomes due to upgraded building services, increased life expectancy of the building and elements in the fit out


    Building features study - Important edges and corners that create Precinct connections and operational improvements.

    Image: Athfield Architects Limited





    Early Concept Image – Floor plan reorganised to engage more

    directly with Civic Square. Image: Athfield Architects Limited









  • Option D – New build on same site

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    11 days ago

    This option would involve demolishing the existing building to put a new one on the same site. The new building would be designed to the highest level of seismic safety and resilience ensuring peoples safety and full service continuity after an earthquake. A new build provides the greatest opportunity to design the space as a library and community space for the long term.

    Key elements of this option are:

    • High level of seismic safety and resilience
    • Designed to incorporate best practice sustainability and accessibility standards and respond to long-term climate change concerns
    • Opportunity to create different connections to Te Ngākau Civic Precinct and surrounding areas
    • Opportunity to reimagine and design a multipurpose Central Library and civic and community facility for current and future users.
    At a glance
    Cost
    $156.5m - $160.7m

    Increase for Average Residential Ratepayer each of 64 years of building life

    $50.60-$52.60pa
    Indicative opening date November 2025


    Advantages Disadvantages
    • High resilience means minimal risk of future building closures
    • Does not retain the existing building and would need to resolve the heritage status of precinct in the future building and the potential future heritage scheduling by Heritage New Zealand (may also impact on timeframe)
    • Opportunity to fully optimise the design to meet future library service requirements
    • Negative impact on sustainability objectives due to demolition
    • Could be built to high sustainability standards
    • New build options have the longest timeframes to the library re-opening
    • Lower cost than high-level remediation option

    • Designed to address and mitigate future climate change impacts

    • Opportunity to align with best practice accessibility standards

    • Significant opportunities for partnerships

    • New and enhanced connections to Te Ngākau Civic Precinct


    The new build estimates do not include base isolation as the desired level of building resilience can be achieved in a new build without it. However if the decision was made to base isolate a new building the additional cost would not be significant.

    The cost estimates for the new build option do include estimated demolition and removal costs.

    Above: Young adults collection at Johnsonville Library in Waitohi

    Photograph: Matt Paterson

    Above image: Photography exhibition by John B Turner, at Johnsonville Library in Waitohi

    Photograph: Matt Paterson

  • Option E - New build on another Te Ngākau Civic Precinct site

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    12 days ago

    This option would involve building a new library on a different site in Te Ngākau Civic Precinct. There could be a number of possible sites which would be explored after the public consultation stage. The building would be designed to a high level of seismic resilience ensuring people’s safety and full service continuity after an earthquake. Like Option D, the new build provides the greatest opportunity to design the space as a library and community facility for the long term. The future of the existing building would need to be resolved, potentially through sale or lease, however the Council would retain ownership of the land. Protection of the heritage elements would also need to be ensured.

    Key elements of this option are:

    • High level of seismic safety and resilience
    • Designed to incorporate best practice sustainability and accessibility standards and respond to long-term climate change concerns
    • Opportunity to create different connections to Te Ngākau Civic Precinct and surrounding areas
    • Opportunity to reimagine and design a multipurpose Central Library and civic and community facility for current and future users.
    At a glance
    Cost $156.5m - $160.7m
    Increase for Average Residential Ratepayer $50.60 - $52.60pa
    Indicative opening date November 2023


    Advantages Disadvantages
    • High level of seismic safety and resilience means minimal risk of future building closures.
    • A site has to be identified and decisionmaking process completed with potential to add delays to overall timeframe

    • Opportunity to fully optimise the design to meet future library service requirements.
    • The future of the existing building will need to be resolved through a separate process

    • Could be built to high sustainability standards
    • New build options have the longest timeframes to the library re-opening

    • Lower cost than high-level remediation option and potential for revenue from sale/lease of existing building

    • Existing building retained alleviating heritage and sustainability concerns that would result from demolition

    • Designed to address and mitigate future climate change impacts


    • Opportunity to align with best practice accessibility standards

    • Significant opportunities for partnerships

    • New and enhanced connections to Te Ngākau Civic Precinct


    The new build estimates do not include base isolation as the desired level of building resilience can be achieved in a new build without it. However if the decision was made to base isolate a new building the additional cost would not be significant.

    The cost estimates for the new build option do include estimated demolition and removal costs.


    Tūranga by Christchurch City Libraries / CC

    BY-NC-ND 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/27zhQ2e

    Poets in Tūranga on National Poetry Day by Christchurch City

    Libraries / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/2h5X6Uh



  • Comparing the options against the assessment factors

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    8 days ago


    Would the option... Option A -
    Low-level Remediation

    Option B –
    Mid Level Remediation

    Option C –
    High Level Remediation
    (preferred option)

    Option D –
    New Build on same site

    Option E –
    New Build on another
    Te Ngākau Civic Precinct site

    Make the building safe?

    Addresses immediate life safety issues (40% NBS)

    Addresses immediate life safety issues (80% NBS)

    Addresses immediate life safety issues and a high level of seismic safety (100%+ NBS)

    Design to a high level of seismic safety Design to a high level of seismic safety
    Design to a high level of seismic safety Design to a high level of seismic safety
    Deliver a resilient building?

    Low level of resilience. Likely to be damaged and need repair after a significant earthquake. Changes in future building regulations may require additional strengthening work.

    Moderate level of resilience. Reduces but doesn’t remove likelihood of future building closures after a significant earthquake. Risk of changes in future building regulations may require additional strengthening work.


    High level of building resilience with minimal risk of future building closures after a significant earthquake


    Design to high level of seismic resilience with minimal risk of future building closures after a significant earthquake

    Design to high level of seismic resilience with minimal risk of future building closures after a significant earthquake


    Respect Heritage? Current building retained but at risk due to likelihood of further earthquake damage
    Current building retained, some risk of loss of heritage due to likelihood of further earthquake damage
    Current building retained and risk of loss of heritage from future earthquakes minimal

    Demolition would not protect heritage

    Current building retained and heritage can be protected (future use of building unknown)
    Be Accessible? No or limited improvement
    Potential for improvement
    Potential for significant improvement
    Opportunity to align with best practice standards
    Opportunity to align with best practice standards
    Future-proof the library service? Minor improvements but at risk of further closures
    Some improvement
    Significant improvement and opportunity to modernise library services, spaces and facilities
    Significant improvement and opportunity to meet future library service requirements
    Significant improvement and opportunity to meet future library service requirements
    Provide for partnerships? Minimal opportunities
    Potential opportunities
    Significant opportunities
    Significant opportunities
    Significant opportunities
    Make a contribution Te Ngākau Civic Precinct

    No or limited changes to connection and activation

    Additional connection and activation
    Additional connection and activation

    New and enhanced connection and activation


    New and enhanced connection and activation


    Respond to Climate Change? No mitigation
    No mitigation

    Base isolation provides opportunity to respond to future impacts

    Designed to address and mitigate future impacts


    Designed to address and mitigate future impacts


    Improve sustainability?

    Some improvements due to upgraded building services.

    Some improvements due to upgraded building services and nominal increase in building’s life expectancy.

    Some improvements due to upgraded building services; significant increase in building’s life expectancy; and opportunity to introduce sustainable elements in construction and fit out.

    Probable negative impact due to demolition. Positive impact through incorporating latest sustainable design and construction practices in new building.

    Positive impact through incorporating latest sustainable design and construction practices.

    What is...?




    The cost to ratepayers




    Overall $76.3m-$90.8m
    $131.2m-$151.8m
    $174.4m-$199.8m
    $156.5m-$160.7m
    $156.5m-$160.7m

    Average annual $ increase for residential ratepayers

    $38.90-$46.30
    $57.30-$67.60
    $74.30-$86.20
    $50.60-$52.60
    $50.60-$52.60
    The timeframe Indicative opening date Nov 2023
    Indicative opening date Sept 2024
    Indicative opening date May 2025
    Highly indicative opening
    Nov 2025
    Highly indicative opening
    Nov 2025
  • Amendments to Statement of Proposal on the future Central Library

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    13 days ago

    21 JULY 2020

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Today Wellington Mayor Andy Foster and Councillors voted on a number of amendments on the proposed Statement of Proposal on the future of the Central Library.

    “Wellington is facing a number of significant challenges but also exciting opportunities to invest in the long term future of the city. This includes our Central Library service, which is why I want the fullest public consultation possible,” says Mayor Foster.

    “The Council’s preferred option is to remediate the building to a highly resilient level, which would see the Central Library serve our communities for least the next 50 to 60 years, and reduce the risk of further disruptions which frustrate everyone if we were only to partially remediate the building.

    “Today’s debates focused on a number of amendments and views. Councillors were free to express their views, which they did. My objectives going into today’s meeting were to ensure we approached the discussion and consultation with an open mind and arrived at an agreement to launch the public engagement and consultation process.

    “The final Statement of Proposal will be released next Monday 27 July and kick off a six-week consultation process. I encourage everyone to read about the options and get involved with the consultation events,” says Mayor Foster.

    “Knowing how vital the Central Library service is, I am pleased how quickly we moved to set up three interim CBD branches,” says Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, Portfolio Leader Libraries. “Te Awe Library in Brandon Street opened last week and is receiving great feedback from people using it.

    “These three libraries are ensuring people can continue to connect, and access our services in the CBD, until we can make decisions about Central Library. Over the coming weeks there will be a series events to join, and conversation to take part in, so come along, share your views and tell us what is most important to you about our Central Library.”

    The preferred Option C proposes remediating the building to the highest level, including base-isolation. Option C would provide the highest level of safety for people using the building during, and immediately following, a significant earthquake, and reduce the likelihood of significant, costly repairs after an earthquake, or additional strengthening to meet building regulation changes.

    Under the Statement of Proposal the Council has to provide all practicable options for the public to consider, along with any options that were discarded. The public can recommended any of the options provided in the Statement of Proposal, including those ones which were discarded.

    “The Council and our community need to weigh up cost, speed of delivery and level of resilience. No option can deliver all of those, so there will need to be trade-offs that our community has to consider and, give us their views so to inform the final decision in October,” said Mayor Foster.

    Public consultation and engagement will run between Monday 27 July and Monday 7 September. Next Monday we will launch a consultation webpage for people to find information, ask questions, sign-up to receive regular updates, and find out how to share their views. We will also hold Speaker Events, Planning for Growth Tiny House pop-up information kiosk, and Library branch events from mid-August. More details will be available at www.letstalk.wellington.govt.nz/central-library from Monday 27 July.

    Timelines

    • 27 July – 7 September 2020: Public consultation and engagement
    • 22 September: Oral hearings
    • 27 October: Council decision on option to go into Long-term Plan
    • October – March 2021: Detailed engineering and architectural design work on preferred option begins using funding allocated in the 2020-2021 Annual Plan.
    • March – April 2021: Long-term Plan consultation
    • June 2021: Long-term plan confirmed including final decision on the future Central Library
    • Tender process for work to begin on preferred option.