Community concern halts Te Anau Library merger proposal

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A TE ANAU resident is happy with the Southland District Council’s (SDC) decision to halt its plan to amalgamate the Te Anau Library into a community hub.

However, Friends Of The Library chairwoman Marilyn Hunter said on Tuesday this outcome solved only “part of the problem”.

Since the plan was raised at the council’s long-term plan (LTP) consultation document, community members had shown concern about the proposal which aimed to merge the council office with the library’s location, she said.

The council had had a customer support person working from the library since the beginning of the year.

“People did not like to have the combination of library usage and council business. It is not a huge library so there is no way your conversation is private.

“It is not the place for people to discuss their dog registrations or have to apply for rates rebates. Sometimes those kinds of conversation are quite private.”

The council had scheduled an open day at the library to present its plan, but Cr Ebel Kremer posted in Te Anau’s community information page that the event was cancelled and said the complaints of the community had not “fallen on deaf ears”.

“I have this afternoon stepped in and made a political decision to put a halt to any proposed changes to the library.

“The library feasibility study needs to be implemented as per council’s LTP. This will provide a consultation process with the Friends of the Library and other library community interest groups and SDC.”

Mrs Hunter said she was pleased with the outcome, but the community still wanted the council’s services shifted to its office in Te Anau.

Cr Kremer said he was not in a position to advise when the feasibility study would take place, but SDC was “working through” to find a solution.

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