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Busy first week just the beginning

Busy first week just the beginning
Over 7300 people visited the new Ashburton library in its opening week. PHOTO JONATHAN LEASK/LDR

It has been a busy start to life for Ashburton’s new library and civic centre, Te Whare Whakatere.

In its opening week the new Ashburton Library, Te Kete Tuhinga, had 7335 people walk through the front doors, almost four times the foot traffic in comparison with the same week in 2023 (1891) at the old library.

Those numbers are only likely to increase after the rest of the building's tenants moved in yesterday.

That included local café One Ninety Nine which has relocated to Te Whare Whakatere.

Owners Gareth and Jamie Cadogan have been running their café business in an alleyway off Burnett Street for the past three and a half years, but started serving on the ground floor of the new building on Monday.

It was a simple decision moving the 100m across the CBD for what the foot traffic figures from the opening week show will be one of the most prominent places in town.

“It’s a great space,” Gareth Cadogan said.

One Ninety Nine cafe owners Gareth and Jamie Cadogan on what was a busy opening day at their new location inside Te Whare Whakatere, Ashburton's new library and civic centre. PHOTO JONATHAN LEASK/LDR

Ashburton District Council chief executive Hamish Riach said One Ninety Nine was offered the spot in the building after a robust process to find the right business.

“We shortlisted a few cafes who were interested, and we believe Gareth and Jamie have the right business to complement the new library.

“We were mindful that we didn’t want to introduce more competition for existing coffee businesses in the area, so having One Ninety Nine already established in this part of the CBD is a win.”

The café weren’t the only ones celebrating their first day in the new building with the council’s staff also now operating from Te Whare Whakatere.

Staff were excited to finally be in the building for their induction last week and then open for business on Monday, Riach said.

“After the thick end of two months working remotely, it was great for staff to be able to all get together last Friday and reconnect with each other face to face.

“It’s been a long and winding journey at times to get here, but just great to be finally in and underway.”

With everyone moved in, there are still a few things left to complete the building.

The most notable is the metal mesh shroud on the front of the building.

After being installed it was found to be faulty and is being reworked by the manufacturers, Riach said.

An official opening date for the building is still to be confirmed, Riach said, with the council coordinating with the Prime Minister’s office over dates.

By Jonathan Leask