Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre is now open

Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre opened on Saturday 22 July 2017

Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre opened on Saturday 22 July 2017 on the site of the former Bishopdale Creche in Bishopdale Mall.

The temporary Bishopdale Library, currently operating at 17C Bishopdale Court in the Mall, closed at 1pm Saturday 8 July 2017.

During the two weeks without library services, items can be returned to any other library in the Christchurch City Libraries network. The nearest libraries are Fendalton and Papanui Libraries. Reserved items will be made available at Fendalton Library unless otherwise requested.

The approved concept design for the new facility shows a combined library and community hall joined by an atrium in the 800 square metre single-storey building. The main hall divides into two separate spaces which can be combined to give greater flexibility. Both areas open to a deck and have access to a kitchen. A meeting space can be booked by community groups and can be used after hours when the library is closed. The adjacent library includes a 330 square metre collection space and can also open out to a deck.

Construction of the new Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre

Photos of construction

Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre

Ōrauwhata means “the place of the multitude of eels”. This name is a reflection of the area before it was planted and developed by the Bishop family in the 19th century, when it held whata (eels) in water basins formed during flooding by frequent overflow from the Waimairi River.

More about the Bishopdale Library

The new facility is replacing the adjacent closed Bishopdale Community Centre and Library in Bishopdale Mall, which has been deemed uneconomic to repair. It was closed in November 2011 following a Detailed Engineering Evaluation that showed its seismic capacity was four per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS).

The Fendalton–Waimairi Community Board made a final decision about the site on 13 April 2015. It was made following a rigorous site evaluation process.  This included an endorsement from a Joint Working Group made up of community representatives and a community consultation process which showed residents were in favour of building a replacement community centre and library on the site.

The crèche site was considered the most suitable for the replacement community centre and library because of its accessibility, its cost effectiveness and the size of the site which has allowed the Council to be more flexible with the design of the new facility.

The site of the closed community centre and library was a close second but was not preferred because it is not large enough to house an 800 square metre single-storey facility (the footprint of the closed community centre and library was approximately 670 square metres). Buying more land is likely to be a complicated process and would mean it will take longer and cost more to build a replacement facility.

On 4 September 2014, the Council announced it was committing funding to a replacement library and community centre in Bishopdale. The library and community centre is one of the Council's priority facilities for repair or rebuild.

Information from Bishopdale Library and Community Centre on the Christchurch City Council website.