Central Hawke’s Bay District Council is set to open a new Regional Digital Business Hub, while at the same time finding a place the Waipukurau library service can call home for at least the next five years, thanks to funding secured through the Provincial Growth Fund.
Situated in the Bogle Brother’s Esplanade site, commonly known as the Old Buck’s Building, the Business Hub is expected to open in July this year, and will host the much loved Waipukurau library service, AA Services and Council services for at least the next five years. This follows the closure of the Waipukurau Library last year after it was confirmed as being an earthquake prone building – along with the Waipukurau Memorial Hall.
The placement of the library service within the new business hub is a medium term solution until the council secures a permanent and long term home in a bespoke and multipurpose community facility. Plans to develop this long term solution for the community are earmarked for 2030 or Year 9 of the council’s Long Term Plan 2021-2031.
Mayor of Central Hawke’s Bay, Alex Walker said: “Securing external funding to provide more support for our businesses via this new hub is a huge win for our community. Finding a short term delivery solution for our library service at the same time makes it even more exciting. As we extend digital access, technology, programmes and our services, we also weave together the different threads and partnerships that are the foundation of any strong community. This new hub will become a digital gateway for businesses, employers and anyone wanting to learn and connect across the district.
“Over the coming months we’ll be working closely with industry and business partners and other key community organisations to help shape the programmes and facilities on offer to our residents.”
The unexpected closure of the library last year followed both Council and community expectations that the Waipukurau Library building had been strengthened as part of structural and renovation works completed in 2016. Investigations confirmed significant structural vulnerabilities in the building as potentially earthquake prone, with ratings of less than 20% of the New Building Standard.
Monique Davidson, Chief Executive of Central Hawke’s Bay District Council says, “We fully acknowledge that the-situation is unacceptable, and we continue to pursue our-investigation into the structural vulnerabilities of the original Waipukurau Library building. It is my commitment that we understand how this -situation occurred. We have engaged a peer review of the detailed seismic assessment in addition to legal counsel and now have an independent investigation underway to understand what went wrong, how it went wrong and whether parties are accountable.”
“We know our community expects answers, and we will continue to be as transparent and open as we can be with our information, while not jeopardising the process”, says Mrs Davidson
“In the meantime, we remain focussed on working alongside our community partners to ensure a swift return of the Waipukurau library service to our residents, through the Regional Digital Business Hub - this new site provides just that.”
For community organisations wanting to find out more about plans for the site and what it might mean for their involvement in the premises, please get in touch with the council on 06 857 8060.
9 February 2021
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