It’s been a big week for the Council, with a lot of discussion about the future of our Central Library. This is a hot topic for many Wellingtonians, as the Central Library is much loved by so many people. It plays a key role in our city.
On Wednesday, Councillors and I went through a report which outlined options for strengthening the building to different resilience levels, as well as the timelines involved. This raised a number of questions, particularly around the engineering assessments, and the timeframes to begin the work.
Look, we know people want action sooner and so do we, so we’ve asked Council officers to look at options to speed up the process. We’re meeting again on Wednesday, and we’ll keep you updated.
While we’re on the subject of libraries, it’s great that we’ve reopened four more branches this week. Brooklyn, Khandallah and the Mervyn Kemp Library in Tawa all reopened on Monday, with Miramar Library reopening on Wednesday. The Island Bay and He Matapihi libraries are next on the list.
Our library staff really adapted amazingly over the lockdown by changing the way they operate, and it was really exciting to see we welcomed over 1,110 new library members in March alone, a 300 percent increase on the same period last year.
So well done to all of our hardworking and passionate library staff across the city.
Other big news this week is the announcement of the dates for this year’s Visa Wellington on a Plate. Originally scheduled for August, it was postponed due to Covid-19. It will now run for the whole month of October.
Visa Wellington on a Plate really is the highlight of our culinary year for a lot of people across the country – not just in Wellington – and even though this edition will be a little different, it will still involve all your favourite local restaurants, cafes, bars, breweries and suppliers.
The full programme will be announced in August – it’s going to be fantastic.
Sports fields will be humming this weekend, with restrictions easing on gatherings from today. I know a lot of people can’t wait to get out on the netball court or rugby or football field, so that will be welcome news for a lot of you. I’m lacing up my boots tomorrow too – can’t wait.
To make things easier for everyone, we’ve made the use of Council facilities free for sports clubs until the end of June 2020, and we’ll extend the winter season for our sports fields.
So good luck to all those sportspeople having their first kick around this weekend – it’s been a while so make sure to stretch well before you start.
Finally, a reminder to have your say on the draft Annual Plan and draft parking policy. There are some really important issues in there that will affect a lot of Wellingtonians, including our budget, rates options, major projects, fees and user changes. The parking policy will guide all future parking decisions so it’s important to have your say.
Consultation is open on both of them until 8 June, go to letstalk.wellington.govt.nz and let us know what you think.
Thanks everyone, I’ll be back with another update soon.