Naracoorte library's leaky roof

IT'S time to "get serious" on Naracoorte Public Library's troublesome roof.

Cr Ken Banning told Naracoorte Lucindale Council's July meeting last week that there had been enough procrastination, and it was time to cut to the chase.

The council has for months, even years, debated whether to repair the leaky roof as a stand-alone project or to include it in a large scale overhaul of the library building.

Ambitious aspirational plans for a new-look town square precinct focussing on the library and other council buildings released for comment by the council earlier this year - but not accompanied by any costings - further clouded the issue, drawing mostly condemnation from the public.

Naracoorte Public Library.

Naracoorte Public Library.

Cr Banning said the bottom line was that the library roof was leaking, and had been for up to 15 years, and needed replacing or repairing immediately.

"Get a specific quote on fixing the roof," he urged, "so at least we know what we're talking about as far as cost.

"It's a maintenance issue, it's not something we should be even talking about."

But as has been the case all the way through the debate, some couldn't agree that the issue was that cut and dried.

Cr Craig McGuire said he wanted to see something happen too, but the community had to be given its say on what it wanted before the council jumped ahead.

"It really does need to go to community consultation," he said. "We've come to the conclusion that we don't need the 'megaplex', but sections of the community would like to see the library upgraded.

"Although I feel the roof desperately needs to be fixed, I don't think it's up to us to make that call."

The council's director of operations and technical services Steve Bourne said a "serious guestimate" had been done by a local builder to give a cost guide on fixing up the library roof and doing other necessary works, and it came to about $200,000.

Cr Banning said at least that gave councillors some idea of the likely cost, and he wanted to push ahead and get the work done.

He said when the council carried out consultation on the major upgrade at the saleyards a few years ago, the plans presented to the community were accompanied by firm costings, "so they could make informed comment".

"What's wrong with having some decent numbers?

"I'd suggest we allocate $200,000 out of the budget and get it fixed this summer.

"100 per cent of the (public) feedback I've had is, the roof is the problem, fix it."

Cr Toby Robinson supported Cr Banning but wanted to see more than one building option provided, including a sloping roof to allow water to run off properly.

Cr Banning said even if the project couldn't be approved before the next local government elections in November, at least if the council sourced quotes now the new council would have something to work with.

Cr Malcolm McLean: "This thing has dragged on long enough, we need to have something in place. It's up to the new council if they want to do anything."

Cr McGuire repeated his stance: "We haven't given the community a chance to say what they want in the library, we have put plans forward but not called for suggestions."

CEO Helen Macdonald said the council was not limited on when it could do community consultation on the issue, but it would be a lengthy process involving a lot of research. There was no money available at the moment to do that.

Cr Brett Armfield attempted to return the debate to a black and white scenario, saying the issue had been blown out of proportion.

He said there should be two options presented to the community, with maximum amounts of expenditure attached to both.

Option one - the cheaper - would be to fix the roof and do any other necessary works able to be done within the set maximum amount; and option two - more expensive - would be to knock down the building and replace it.

In the end, though, councillors voted 4-1 in favour of a "middle of the road" option - discussing the issue at a workshop in the near future.