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Ashburton’s old library sold

Ashburton’s old library sold
The sold sticker went on the site of the former Ashburton Pubic Library site this week. PHOTO JONATHAN LEASK/LDR

The old Ashburton Public Library building has sold, but what that means for ratepayers remains under wraps.

How much it sold for, who the new owners are, and what their plans are for the site remain sealed for now.

The building, on the corner of State Highway 1 and Havelock Street, was home to the Ashburton library for nearly 60 years.

Ashburton District Council chief executive Hamish Riach said there were three offers on the property and the settlement date is May 10.

“The purchase price remains confidential at this stage.

“The new owner has asked for anonymity until they are ready to announce their plans for the site, and we will respect that.”

The funds from the sale of the old library are planned to be put towards paying off the construction of Te Whare Whakatere, the new library and civic centre, offsetting the impact on ratepayers.

The council also planned to sell the old administration building site but a decision has not yet been made, Riach said.

“The council is looking to conclude the long-term plan process before making that decision.”

The final build cost of Te Whare Whakatere is yet to be confirmed.

“Once that is confirmed we will advise publicly,” Riach said.

Riach previously stated the final cost would be known after the “resolution of all matters between the council and construction and design contractors”.

Initially budgeted at $56.7m, before its completion the council signalled an overrun in the region of 10%.

The project also received $20m from the government’s shovel-ready infrastructure fund.

The fountain that will be reloctaed to the Tinwald Domain. PHOTO JONATHAN LEASK/LDR

While the plans for the old library site remain unknown, the fountain on the corner of the site will move to the Tinwald Domain.

Business support group manager Leanne Macdonald said the fountain is on the same title of land as the library and the council has been talking with the family that donated it about its future once the library was sold.

“The council is currently working with a local contractor to build a drinking fountain beside the playground at the Tinwald Domain and some parts of the library fountain, including the fish, will now form part of the new fountain.

“We think this is a great way to preserve a slice of its special history.”

By Jonathan Leask