Part of Nelson’s main library has reopened today, after urgent work was done to secure heavy ceiling tiles that posed an earthquake risk.
Most of the Elma Turner library has been closed since June, after it was found its ceiling tiles were heavier than expected, some weighing up to 11 kilograms.
Nelson Mayor Nick Smith said engineers, builders and council staff had worked hard to get the strengthening work done in order to expand the library service as its closure had been “a huge sense of frustration” for many Nelsonians.
“It’s been done at incredible pace, council only made the decision to tick off the funding and get the work done in December so it’s been six weeks of all go over the summer break, to be able to get this major river section of the library reopened.”
Smith said the extension would triple the space available for the public to use and allow a number of after-school activities and programmes to return to the library.
A small pop-up library first opened last July after strengthening work which cost $200,000. This recent work, and further work to strengthen the whole library building is budgeted to cost $1.4 million and is expected to be complete by June, enabling the library to return to full services.
Smith said the Elma Turner Library was one of many council buildings with seismic issues.
“I’m concerned that there’s been a sort of a legacy of leaving these issues unaddressed, for me getting the library fixed is the first step in a programme for our council to get on top of this broader problem of seismic strengthening of public buildings.”
Other earthquake prone buildings in Nelson include Civic House, the Stoke Memorial Hall, Nelson Refinery building and the Plant and Food and Anchor Shipping buildings on Rocks Road.
Smith said Civic House, which housed council staff, was a top priority as the top floor had to be vacated and a taskforce had been established to help progress the strengthening work.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz