The region's first library museum at Cameron Park has been approved, but not without some objections to its perceived "small" size.
A development application for the Sugar Valley Library Museum was given the green light by Lake Macquarie City Council last night.
The library museum is set to cater for up to 200 people and stock almost 20,000 items.
West Wallsend District Heritage Group's collection of some 7,000 items, telling the cultural and historical stories of the region, will form the backbone of the new library museum's exhibitions. Other items will come from a large collection donated in 2019 from the Dudley Public School Museum.
The facility will have a gross floor area of 650m2 including 190m2 of library space with flexible shelving, 220m2 of museum and collection store and 240m2 of ancillary facilities including foyer, meeting/conference room, and amenities.
Councillor Brian Adamthwaite said he had raised issues on a number of occasions about the size of the facility and had been continuously reassured that these issues could be worked out during the design and DA stages. He said he raised the prospect of incorporating capacity for a second floor for expansion into the design.
However the final design has not allowed for this.
Cr Adamthwaite said he was very supportive of the library museum concept, but that it was insufficient compared to other libraries across the local government area.
He pointed out the Swansea library and the library being constructed at Windale were about double the size of the one proposed for Cameron Park, despite serving similar size communities.
"The question must be asked, why more people should make do with less in the north west," Cr Adamthwaite said. "I'm sure the community would be quite happy to have one of these other larger alternatives.
"I regularly hear from the community in the northwest that the further the area is from the lake foreshore the less it gets.
"I disagree that this perception is the reality, however this particular proposal makes me pause to think about the equity of resource allocation to all parts of our city."
There were three submissions made against the proposal, with more concerns about the "small" size of the facility.
But the motion was approved 8-5, with councillors Adamthwaite, Jason Pauling, Barney Langford, Wendy Harrison and John Gilbert voting against it.
Tenders to construct the facility are expected to be called in the coming months with construction anticipated to begin early in 2022.
Edgeworth Library will remain open until the new cultural facility opens. Once construction is complete, library services at Edgeworth will relocate to the new building.
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