Council forges ahead despite division on Regional Library

The regional library will be at the Parkside site at 123 Donnison St

Plans are forging ahead for a Regional Library and Innovation Hub in Donnison St, Gosford, but not all councillors are on board.

Lead consultants for the project, Lahznimmo Architects, were appointed on April 1 to develop the designs and associated documentation for statutory submissions and calling of construction tenders.

Councillors were told at their July 13 meeting that work is on track with a report set to come back to Council in August prior to a Development Application submission.

The $27.7M project will be funded through a Council Special Rate Variation of $8.1M, a Federal Government Commitment of $7M and $12.6M from the sale of the Kibbleplex building.

Councillors voted against a secondary recommendation that design works be halted and revised to allow for an additional level of office space and carparking which would have seen an extra $550,000 in funds needed.

Councillor Kyle MacGregor said the community was “being sold a pup” with inadequate car parking facilities.

“This is a sub-standard option and won’t meet demands,” he said.

“When you do something, you do it right.”

He was supported by Councillor Greg Best, who said the second option was a better business option.

But Councillor Rebecca Gale said extra funds were not available and Council needed to stick to the $27.7M budgeted for the library.

Councillor Bruce McLachlan questioned whether or not the community really wanted a $27.7M library.

“I just question (if) we’re chasing an outdated idea,” he said.

“University students have everything they need on their phone and a library at the uni.”

Councillor Jilly Pilon abstained saying she wasn’t supportive of the library but, if it was to go ahead, she would like to see the extra floor space and parking.

The motion to proceed with the planning in its current form passed with Councillors MacGregor, Doug Vincent, Best and McLachlan voting against it.

According to a funding agreement with the Federal Government, Council must deliver a library building of at least 4,000m², which includes: meeting and information spaces; flexible open plan workplace; incubator spaces; at least eight multi-purpose meeting rooms; at least two office suites; one large theatre style lecture room with seating capacity of 300; exhibition spaces; local history spaces’ a reception area/customer service; administration space; and installation of digital technology comprising Wi-Fi, hearing loops, video conferencing and radio-frequency identification (RFID).

Mayor Lisa Matthews said she was pleased to see the progress for the catalyst project which would enhance the Gosford city centre and deliver for the Central Coast community.

“This is an important project that will help meet the ongoing social, recreational, educational and technological needs of our growing community and improve our residents’ quality of life,” Cr Matthews said.

“Even more, we need spaces and places where our community can meet, connect and learn.

“We have the funding and project plans in place, and we are getting on with delivering a regional library for the community.”

The library is expected to be delivered by 2023.

Agenda item 3.7
Central Coast Council meeting, July 13