Mayor backs move
Saturday, 9th April, 2016
By Erica Visser
Mayor Wincen Cuy has hit back at critics of the library relocation plan who say Council is foolish to move from a building it owns into a leased property.
Mayor Cuy said that while that may be the case in the big cities, current property values in Broken Hill meant it was more costly to hold onto the deteriorating building.
“Depreciation: I know that’s a nasty word out in the public arena,” he told local media after councillors unanimously voted for the move on Wednesday night.
“...It’d be a legitimate concern if you were in the middle of Pitt Street in Sydney or the Rundle Mall, because the value of your building that you own is actually skyrocketing all the time.
“The buildings in Broken Hill, at this point, are deteriorating in value and the amount of money that we have to put into that can be saved and a new location.”
Council has yet to reveal the costings for the relocation, but says the city will save $1.4 million over 10 years due to repair and maintenance costs at the old library.
The biggest contributing cost was upgrading the air conditioning, which was originally quoted at $390,000 but later blew out to more than double at $850,000.
While some locals felt as though the plans were secretly pushed through by Council, Mayor Cuy said that “plenty” of consultation had taken place.
“When people look at something they don’t like, they believe they were not engaged with,” he said.
“But there was opportunity to engage right from the beginning. Maybe these types of things that we’re actually doing right now may spark people to become engaged.”
While 45 per cent of online feedback received was labelled as positive, Labor Councillor Peter Black insisted that only one in every eight locals backed the plan.
Clr Black started a petition to stop the relocation, but was required to vote for it with his Labor colleagues.