Delivery of Ashburton’s new $56.75 million library and civic building, Te Pātaka a kā Tuhituhi and Te Waharoa a Hine Paaka, has been pushed back again.
Ashburton District Council chief executive, Hamish Riach, said the building “remains on schedule to be completed this year, with the opening planned for the fourth quarter of 2023”.
The original completion date had been the end of 2022, but the council announced in February 2022 that delays in the construction industry caused by supply chain issues meant it wouldn’t be completed until the second quarter of 2023.
The delays have put the budget under significant pressure, Riach said.
“The $20 million from the Government’s ‘shovel ready’ project funding has reduced the original financial input from ratepayers, but significant pressure remains on the timeline and budget due to the ongoing uncertainty of the construction market,” Riach said.
“Supplies have been secured for all major elements of the project and so supply chain risks have been reduced.”
There has been visible progress recently with exterior cladding and windows being installed.
“The seismic frames for the windows and the glass arrived in December,” Riach said.
“The installation of the seismic frames occurred over the summer break and windows are going up currently.
“The facade materials and cladding system arrived in early January and installation is progressing well.”
Work on the interior is progressing steadily as planned, he said.
“Plasterboard is becoming a dominant feature internally and it’s pleasing to see the community meeting and activity spaces taking shape.”
As the windows go up, the external wrap will be removed piece by piece revealing the face of the building, he said.
“The community can expect to see visible signs of the cladding going up in February.
“Expect to see workers tackling the roof installation next, while less visible, the internal lifts are due for April.”
When the library and council relocate into the new facility, the fate of the old buildings is yet to be finalised.
Staff are working on options to present to the council he said, which includes the sale of the old buildings.
“Other future plans are afoot such as the decommissioning of the current buildings, relocation of equipment and books, and installation of technology and furniture.”
With the Baring Square East upgrade also set to begin soon, Riach said the council is working with contractors to co-ordinate the sequencing of multiple projects in the area and “a timeline will be known soon”.
- By Jonathan Leask