Future Murky for Leys Institute Library

Two weeks after the release of the council’s Long Term Plan 2021-31, there is no clear information forthcoming about strengthening and restoring the Leys Institute to our community, despite multiple contacts with the Waitemata Local Board and councillors.

Richard Northey, Waitemata Local Board chair, says “The Local Board hoped and expected that the governing body and staff would make a clear decision about whether and when to seismically strengthen and renovate the Leys Institute.” But no decision has been made.

Budget information released by Finance Committee chair Councillor Desley Simpson shows that there are substantial funds allocated for the seismic upgrading of community facilities in 2023 and 2024, stating “With regard to Leys Institute, the ‘Seismic retrofit’ budget could be allocated towards the cost of Leys Institute, subject to a detailed business case and informed by consideration of competing demands for use of this budget”.
But her office also says, “The project governance and indicative timeline for the development of a business case has yet to be determined.”

That means that any upgrading of the Leys Institute is effectively in limbo – no one part of council is preparing a business case or taking responsibility for the Leys restoration.

The community has been waiting patiently for over 18 months, and has submitted on annual plans, Local Board plans and the Long Term Plan. Meanwhile our treasured Category A heritage library and gymnasium are still mothballed. Will they become derelict like Carlile House in Richmond Rd?

Friends of Leys Institute is disappointed with this lack of a definitive path forward for the Leys. We suggest that concerned residents email the Waitemata Local Board (waitematalocalboard@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz), our local councillor Pippa Coom (pippa.coom@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz ) and Councillor Desley Simpson (desley.simpson@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz) to advocate for a clear timeline and process, with exactly who will be developing the necessary business case in council.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of Friends of Institute can email co-ordinator Helen Geary at heleng@maxnet.co.nz and follow the Friends of Leys Institute Facebook page.

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