Thursday, June 20, 2024

Public demands new library and community centre

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Previous Howick Local Board chairperson Adele White at the proposed location of the future Flat Bush Library and Community Centre at the Ormiston Town Centre in 2021. Times file photo Wayne Martin

One of the themes of the feedback about what people want to see happen in east Auckland in the coming years is the need for a new library and community centre.

The Howick Local Board’s draft Local Board Plan 2023 outlines its strategy and goals for the next three-year period.

It will be finalised and adopted this month before coming into effect in July next year.

Auckland Council has published online a 1019-page document that contains 269 pieces of anonymous written feedback residents provided to the board on its draft plan.

Many submitters raised the issue of the long-promised but undelivered Flat Bush Library and Community Centre.

One person who provided written feedback on the board’s draft plan says they feel like the board’s priorities are focused in Howick and Pakuranga.

“We don’t see you often out this way in Flat Bush, and I think partially this is because we don’t really have community facilities for this purpose.

“We need our library/community centre in Ormiston. It’s been delayed too long and I think it hinders community connection and belonging.”

Another person says they’re “still waiting for [the] Flat Bush/Ormiston Library/Community Centre”, while a fourth person says “Ormiston needs the provision of [a] library and basic parks and [a] playground”.

Another piece of feedback states Flat Bush is becoming a “poor cousin” with no library or leisure centre and the absence of such facilities will cause social problems due to no “community connectedness”.

One person says they’d love to have a library in Flat Bush and Ormiston while another asks: “When are you going to build Ormiston Library, indoor pools and other facilities like the one in Lloyd Elsmore?

“Ormiston has grown bigger and deserves to have its own facilities.”

As the Times has previously reported, the council and local board have talked for years about delivering a library and community centre in Flat Bush with the intention the facilities would serve that suburb and Ormiston.

The work was put on hold as part of the council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the financial restraints in its emergency budget 2020-2021.

Previous board chairperson Adele White told the Times in early 2021 the board “had certainly expected” to see the facilities in Flat Bush by then.

“A community centre is essential in providing residents with a space where they will share ideas, celebrate their cultures and truly connect as a community.

“There are far-reaching benefits too of having an accessible library which provides a wide range of activities for all ages encouraging communication and learning.”

During the local-body elections in October 2022, current board chairperson Damian Light spoke of the need to deliver the new library and community centre for Flat Bush and Ormiston.

“Residents are understandably upset at waiting so long for a facility that still has no firm timeline.

“They want to know when they will get the facility their growing community so desperately needs.”

He said the library and community centre were promised by the former Manukau City Council in 2005 and then by the current super-city council.

“Over nearly two decades, hundreds of locals have provided their feedback that they need this facility.”

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