NEGOTIATIONS on a $9 million new library for Warrnambool should go to the next chapter to become a reality, according to city council candidate John Harris.
He wants the proposed joint library project involving the city and South West TAFE to be built by 2016.
“Our existing library was built in 1976 for a population of 26,000. Warrnambool now has 34,000 people and services a region of 50,000,” said Cr Harris who is standing for a second term.
“I hope to be re-elected to keep the process going and see the new library come to fruition.
“There has been good co-operation between the council and TAFE and I want to continue playing a role to keep that going.”
With the city’s population tipped to reach 50,000 by the mid 2030s, the proposal would meet future growth by replacing the existing 600-square-metre library at the civic centre with a modern 2500-square-metre facility at the TAFE campus F-building.
Cr Harris is chairing a steering group involving the council, TAFE and Department of Planning and Community Development to work on a five-stage plan.
He said the proposed joint library was the best and cheapest solution and would allow better access, a larger collection, improved children’s area with a toy library, greater access to computers, meeting rooms, a cafe and self-checkout system.
“To build on a green field site would be $15 million, but the joint proposal would be about $9 million and the costs would be shared,” Cr Harris said.
“I believe it should be a priority and that government allocations would significantly reduce the need for ratepayer contributions.”
Cr Harris, who is also chairman of Corangamite Regional Library Corporation, said joint-use libraries were becoming more popular because of construction and operational cost savings.