|Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris
Readers would have been as surprised as some councillors were by last week’s headlines about a $100m museum and library in the city centre.
How could we possibly afford that or do that to ratepayers?
We can’t and we won’t.
On Tuesday, councillors took control and set a cap on a council contribution to a new museum on Cliff Road of $20m.
At the same committee meeting, and after a tied vote of 4-4, Committee Chair Larry Baldock voted to include an additional $25m for a new library in the budget as well.
I doubt the latter proposal will pass when it comes to full council, as it will need a majority of six and the three councillors who are not on the committee – Catherine Stewart, Bill Grainger and Rick Curach – are on the more financially conservative end of the spectrum.
When we consulted with the public face-to-face on a museum before the last election, there was an appetite among many people I spoke with to consider a museum, as well as a number who couldn’t stand the idea.
Very few suggested a new town library, and certainly not at the cost we have before us now.
We need to get into the habit of valuing and maintaining the buildings we have. For $5.8m we could renovate one of our existing buildings and make the library one-third larger.
With an historic rate rise if spending isn’t bought under control, a $20m saving on the library is an easy win.