Mayor Margaret Strelow
Mayor Margaret Strelow Chris Ison

Debate flares over location for a new Gracemere library

GRACEMERE bookworms will soon have even more options when it comes to finding their next great read.

The former Rockhampton Regional Council offices on Ranger St will be converted to a library, following a decision in the full council meeting yesterday.

A report outlined two options for the service; the Reany St council administration building or the Barry St Community Centre.

While the Barry St site was fully accessible and had scope for expansion when required, the Reany St site had almost double the floor space available.

But the Reany St site would also require the construction of some infill walls to separate the library from the staff in the current Community Standards and Compliance section of council.

Mayor Margaret Strelow spoke passionately in favour of the Ranger St site.

"The idea of a library in Gracemere is fundamentally right," she said.

"I think to put some sort of semi library into (the Community Centre) is not an investment in the future.

"I believe the arguments for Ranger St are strong, particularly for how it will grow in the future.

"It's a great place for the staff, a great place for the community and the co-location of customer service and library has so many benefits.

"That leaves the Community Centre as a community hall. I think it's an obvious choice."

But the decision was not without some conflict.

Councillor Rose Swadling said she was concerned there had been no community consultation on the final location of the library.

She said council were "abused for not doing our community consultation time and time again".

"I understand the need and the complexity, but my only problem is we haven't asked the community their preferred site," she said.

"I know both buildings, I know the complexities in both, but I believe we should be asking the community."

Cr Strelow requested budget estimates to be prepared for inclusion in the next financial year budget for the establishment and operation of the library service, which is expected to cost at least $31,500.

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