Warilla library has been earmarked to become a branch of the new controversial Civic Centre library in Shellharbour causing outrage in the community.
The proposed facility raises concerns of centralisation, accessibility and disadvantaging low socio-economic residents.
The Civic Centre, formerly known as the ‘City Hub’, will house a modern central library, however Shellharbour councillor Peter Moran has slammed the new building as a waste of space.
“At the moment, the Warilla community has a central library located right on the edge of one of the absolute poorest areas as far as socio-economic ratings of the whole city (goes),” Cr Moran said.
“What they are proposing is to close the (existing library) and build a branch library in one of the wealthiest areas of Warilla.
“They are dislocating it from the people who need it the most.”
The local Warilla branch will be built at Keith Fletcher Park in an area where people of higher socio-economic backgrounds reside.
Council sold the land of the current Warilla Library and adjoining council chambers for more than $4 million in 2014.
Cr Moran believed the sale proceeds for the civic library could be spent on renovating the present library, which is situated in a busy public transport area.
“(These funds) could just as easily be attributed to the reconstruction of a new library in a central place where the need is greatest and there is no trouble with accessibility,” he said.
Warilla resident and senior citizen Barry Young is saddened by Council’s decision and said the loss of the library would greatly impact his life.
“I’m too old to drive,’’ Mr Young said.
“I don’t know how these opal cards work so I’m going to lose my library.
“I’m making the most of these final months hoping for something to change.”
For Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba, accommodating community growth is the council’s main objective.
“Our intentions for the Civic Centre are to have no impact on community services, we are just ensuring community needs are met and Shellharbour’s future population is accounted for,” Cr Saliba said.
The Civic Centre is expected to be completed in August 2017 with the new Warilla branch, at Keith Letcher Park set to open late next year.