2 November 2017
The opening of Te Aka Mauri, Rotorua’s new library and children’s health hub, has had to be deferred to February due to delays during the final construction phase.
The project is jointly funded by Rotorua Lakes Council and the Lakes District Health Board, which will become a long-term tenant in the building, providing outpatient child health services, and the countdown had begun to a late November opening.
The project includes construction of a raised crossing to provide a safe space between Te Aka Mauri and the Haupapa Street carpark opposite. Jean Batten Square, between the hub and the Fenton Street iSite, will also be revamped, the removal of Community House enabling Council to extend the park to create a new community space.
The project had been tracking on time, however project contractor Fletchers has experienced problems finding sub-contractors for the final phase of the project due to current high demand for tradespeople. This has pushed completion out about a month.
It was decided to delay moving in and opening to the public until the building and surrounds are fully finished, rather than having to operate around ongoing work, Strategy Group Manager Jean-Paul Gaston has told elected members at today's Operations and Monitoring Committee meeting. Health and safety also needed to be considered.
Delays had crept in during recent weeks, prompting the decision to take January to prepare for an early February opening, Mr Gaston said.
The DHB was not able to be moved in by the November opening so the delay meant the facility could now open with both services on site. The additional time to prepare for the move would also enable Council to minimise the time library services would need to be unavailable to enable the transfer of services.
Mayor Steve Chadwick said the decision to delay the opening was “a very logical call” and would enable the project partners to showcase how co-location can work.
“While it’s disappointing and I want it open, I’d rather it is fully finished and operational when it is opened so people get a real sense of how it will work.”
Lakes DHB’s Chief Operations Officer Nick Saville-Wood says the DHB services that were to move into the redeveloped building will continue to operate from their current premises until new dates are agreed for the transfer.
Library Director Jane Gilbert said library services would continue as normal despite the delay.
“We had begun preparations for moving back to Haupapa St and were excited about the opening and the new services and features library users will be able to enjoy. We are obviously disappointed but the delay has been unavoidable and we will adjust our plans accordingly,” she said.
How will this delay impact on library services?
It won’t impact on library services. Rotorua Library will continue to operate in the current Pukuatua Street premises in the interim. Library services, including eLibrary and Outreach services, will continue without interruption.
All library activities will continue and many of the initiatives, activities and programmes planned for the summer period will still go ahead. Details will be announced soon.
The library was going to start opening on Sundays from the November opening, will this change as a result of the delay?
Yes. Library Hours will remain as they are until the new opening date.
Will this increase the cost of the project?
There will be no additional cost to Council.