A summary of the work we are doing to develop a new Civic and Library Area Plan for Napier.
Since 2017, we have been investigating various options for office accommodation, governance facilities, and a new central library. In December 2017 Council approved a Statement of Proposal which would have allowed the sale of the Civic site (on the corner of Station and Hastings Streets) for a commercial use. Negotiations with an international hotel provider for the purchase of this site have now closed following a change in circumstances due to Covid-19.
A site selection process for the new Library also concluded, with Council resolving in 2019 to establish new library facilities in the city block bound by Station Street, Dalton Street and Hastings Street.
The area where Napier’s former Civic building and library sits was a key focus for Council administrative services and governance. As such, a Steering Group was established in 2020 to oversee the vision, options exploration, and design for the future. The first phase in the delivery of this project was the creation of a Civic Precinct Framework. This sets out the vision and principles to guide the development of the masterplan for the site and surrounding area. The principles ensure that decisions made over time are consistent and values-based and take full advantage of this once in a generation opportunity to create a space that serves the needs of our community and is an engaging destination.
Council engaged with other organisations including the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Ministry of Justice, to ensure there is thinking around shared services and facilities, and to ensure that spatial design considers our neighbours and their needs.
The Civic Precinct was a working title and is now known as the Civic and Library Area Plan (also a working title). We are working alongside mana whenua to appropriately name both the new plan and the buildings and spaces that will result from this project.
With the library building deemed earthquake prone, a plan for its future was needed. Work on a Library Strategy was undertaken, which involved much community consultation and was adopted by Council in December 2018. The Strategy had some key focus areas:
Alongside the Library Strategy, a long-list of 16 potential sites for the library were identified and reports on their suitability were developed for each.
In April 2019, Council was presented with the site reports and it was recommended to them that further due diligence be progressed on a short-list of sites. Due diligence was completed on the top three sites in late 2019.
In March 2020 it was recommended to Council to pursue the development of the library on the block bound by Station, Dalton and Hastings Streets.
The Library Project now forms part of the Civic and Library Area Plan.
The Civic and Library Area Plan (working title) is not a detailed design, but rather is a plan that lays out the desired ideas for Napier's Civic and Library Area. For example, what type of spaces, buildings and activities do we want the area to include? Who should be included in it? Think of the plan as being pieces of a puzzle. We are working on seeing how they might fit together to best meet the needs of the different groups in our community.
Design of the plan is being undertaken by a consortium comprising Boffa Miskell, Athfield Architects and local architect Jacob Scott, in collaboration with council officers.
This work is nearly complete, with community consultation on the plan to begin in August 2021.
A new library will be a part of the area, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be in the same place it used to be on the corner of Dalton and Station Streets. The layout in the Civic and Library Area Plan sets out the possibilities – nothing has been decided for certain yet.
We’ve spoken with a range of groups over the past few months to gather their thoughts on what should be in the Civic and Library Area Plan. These groups include culture and arts representatives, mana whenua, groups representing the elderly and youth, as well as property developers, planners, architects and real estate agents.
Developing the plan is a rare opportunity to design a space that is a collective expression of us and our aspirations as citizens of Ahuriri/Napier. It will celebrate our cultural values and unique history.
Our desire is for Napier's Civic and Library Area to create energy in what is now a quiet and struggling part of the city. It will help to stimulate economic activity in this area of the city and encourage growth in new businesses and business confidence. We want it to be a safe and inclusive community gathering place for all ages, abilities and cultures.
We anticipate that the new Civic and Library Area will be a special place for ceremonial events and celebrations that acknowledge Napier’s history and its diverse cultures.
A key focus of the Civic and Library Area is that it will be accessible to all modes of transport and be pedestrian and cycle friendly. There will also be good connections to the central city, Marine Parade and adjacent commercial and residential areas.
Civic Court is on the edge of the Civic and Library Area and will be considered as a key part of the plan. We will consider how we can positively influence the design and operation of the surrounding areas to mutually benefit both the Civic and Library Area and the businesses and activities that take place nearby.
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