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‘Look to the benefits’

Saturday, 5th March, 2016

By Erica Visser

Broken Hill’s mayor says locals need to end their “obsession” with easy parking and learn to embrace change.

His comments follow a backlash over Council’s plan to move the library to an Argent Street location, with some residents worried car parking will prove a problem.

Mayor Wincen Cuy said that while parking considerations would likely need to be made, the issue wasn’t reason to abandon what was otherwise a worthwhile cost-saving project.

“What’s this obsession with parking? We have a Broken Hill tradition where you drive around the block over and over when, if you parked 100 metres away, you could get a bit of exercise and undertake your duties in less time,” Mayor Cuy said. 

“...We’re a community where people are scared of change. I wouldn’t be proposing anything I thought would be detrimental to our community.

“There was a whole heap of resistance to do the Aquatic Centre, but now people are saying it’s the best regional centre in the State.

“We actually have to look beyond (the resistance) and focus on what we are trying to do: nearly double the size of the library and put it into a location that will help Argent Street.

“Rather than trying to kill off the library we’re trying to grow it.”

Mayor Cuy said library staff had put forward their support for the proposal, which was up for public consideration until the end of the month.

“Library staff were very much in favour of the relocation.”

He also expected Council’s management would soon advertise to fill the position left by Library Co-ordinator, Cheryl Smith resigned amidst speculation over the future of the service.

Council had predicted a move to the new location, rumoured to be the former Pellew and Moore department store, would save it around $1.4 million over 10 years.

The costings included utilities ($1 million) for the new premises and rent, insurance, capital, design and fit out costs of almost $3.1 million.

However the current library would cost almost $4.5 million over the next decade, with depreciation ($1.3 million) the most significant factor alongside air conditioning upgrade costs of $850,000.

Mayor Cuy said ratepayers should focus on the projected savings rather than the fact that Council wil be required to pay rent for the Argent Street building.

“We acknowledge there are some issues, such as parking, but we are also determined to overcome that,” he said.

The proposal, which also includes moving the city’s archives to the Blende Street administration centre, is on display on Council’s website and at the library and aquatic centres.

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