PGF funded regional Digital Business Hub to open in July
The Central Hawke’s Bay community can shortly plug in to a host of new library, educational, community and digital services – all thanks to the opening of a Provincial Growth Funded Regional Digital Business Hub in Waipukurau planned for late July/early August this year.
The new hub situated in the Bogle Brother’s Esplanade site, commonly known as the, ‘Old Buck’s building’, will deliver a range of programmes and services to bridge the digital divide, and will provide a home for at least five years for the much loved Waipukurau library and host AA services.
After initial delays, designs for the building have now been developed in conjunction with key local stakeholders, with plans currently in for building consent. Works are anticipated to commence in early June, with the facility planned to open in late July/early August.
Councils Group Manager Customer and Community Partnerships Doug Tate says it’s a great opportunity for Central Hawke’s Bay and builds on the work already underway through Councils Economic Development Action Plan, Central Hawke’s Bay’s Integrated Spatial Plan 2050 and the Libraries Strategic Framework.
“The digital hub will offer access for businesses and self-employed people and our wider community, offering free Wi-Fi, co-working spaces and space to present digital products and services. Digital services are already being delivered through Waipawa Library and there will be a focus on developing services that will aim to increase community entrepreneurial and digital capabilities and skills,” says Doug Tate.
“It also provides a unique opportunity to refresh the front door to Central Hawke’s Bay, with the new hub providing a unique opportunity to transform the entrance to the town”.
Importantly for many in the community, the hub will provide a temporary home for at least five years for the Waipukurau Library following the unexpected closure of the Waipukurau Library, following both Council and community expectations that the Waipukurau Library building had been strengthened as part of structural and renovation works completed in 2016.
Central Hawke’s Bay Deputy Mayor and Chair of Strategy & Wellbeing Committee, Kelly Annand said: “Reinstating a library service in Waipukurau is a huge win for the community, especially being able to secure external funding from the Provincial Growth Fund to support this’.
“We understand the important role that libraries play in the fabric of a community and know the services in Waipukurau have been missed. The new hub will provide not only a short term solution for library services, but become a digital gateway for businesses, employers and anyone wanting to learn and connect across the district”.
Activity on the site will commence in early June upon consent being confirmed with a 6-8-week work programme anticipated. Key work being undertaken include the installation of new meeting rooms, interior toilets and interior fit out – including the reuse of carpet, shelving and other fixtures from the current Waipukurau Library in Kitchener Street. New joinery to the front of the building, signage and an accessible entranceway will also be added.