A new home found for Waikanae Library

A new Library and Community Space is on the way in Waikanae says Ward Councillor Michael Scott.

“A lot of effort, from some elected members and staff has been expended to get us to this point. It is the next step in the library recovery for the Waikanae community being put in place.”

Cr Scott says the exciting news is a new home, if only another temporary one, for the Waikanae Library.

“The Library will be relocating to the site currently occupied by the Artel Gallery,” Cr Scott says. He acknowledged the down side for our community is the loss of long-time local arts and business identity Maude Heath.

“At least she is not moving far, as Artel is relocating to new premises in Ōtaki, so her beautiful shop is at least not lost to the coast arts community,” he says.

Cr Scott said he hoped one day Waikanae can entice Maude back into the redeveloped Waikanae Town Centre.

Library services have been being delivered inside the Mahara Gallery over the last few weeks.

Cr Scott says this could never have been a long term solution.

“While the Gallery’s exposure in the community had been heightened by the foot traffic generated by the library, the upcoming Hodgkin’s 150 year celebration is a major event for the Mahara Gallery. I’m not at all convinced the tension of displaying and monitoring valuable paintings (some from other collections) and significant library foot traffic, especially over the upcoming school holidays, would have remained an easy fit.”

Cr Scott says over the coming weeks we will see the current Artel space transformed into a warm, welcoming, purpose designed library space.

“The western facing outlook in particular, which will ultimately open out onto the newly renovated town centre, I suspect will be well used as the winter months descend on us,” he says.

“The location will offer a welcoming space to sit and read. It will be a warm and welcoming haven for young and old who have been putting up with curtailed library services since the main building was shut by council.

“I acknowledge it’s a further temporary solution, but council has heard the concerns of the retailers and the wider community about the need for library services to be retained inside Mahara place,” he says.

“Our new temporary library is certainly not a complete solution as we only have so much space available. It will however give us a chance to display more of the cleaned Waikanae library collection. “I welcome this development and compliment council staff on the speedy work to get this option over the line,” says Cr Scott.