Wellington approves $178 million project to save, strengthen central library

Wellington City Council has voted to spend about $178 million to strengthen the central library, which has been closed since March last year due to the earthquake risk posed by the building’s precast concrete floors.

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The earthquake risk will be mitigated with a $178 million spend. Source: 1 NEWS

The option chosen by councillors strengthens the 29-year-old architecturally designed library to the highest level of resilience, including base isolators.

The public was consulted on four different options ranging from basic remediation work, costing $82 million, through to the most expensive option of demolition and rebuild for $183 million.

A survey showed people were evenly split between a new library and strengthening the existing one to the highest level possible.

Mayor Andy Foster said there was no question people want a central library and now the council needed to “get on with the with job”.

Several pop up libraries were set up to temporarily replace the central library.   

The council voted unanimously in favour of repairing the building, but not before one councillor changed their mind after votes were cast.

Malcolm Sparrow had been the only councillor to dissent, saying he supported a new build, but after the morning tea break he recast his vote in support of strengthening.