More than 6000 people have now signed a petition calling on Shellharbour City Council to abandon plans for its City Hub project, according to the Stop the Hub Community Group.
This week expressions of interest were called for the sale of the former Shellharbour City Council chambers building in Warilla and the adjoining lot that houses Warilla Library.
The proposed sale is the next stage in planning for the development of the council’s $57 million multi-purpose community and civic facility planned for the Shellharbour City Centre.
The project is being funded through a combination of developer contributions, loans and the sale of some council properties.
A potential relocation of the library has angered community members and was the subject of heated debate at this week’s council meeting.
Stop the Hub spokeswoman Diane Quinlin pointed out the real estate advertisement for the old council chambers stated the building was ‘‘located at the main intersection at the centre of Shellharbour town centre”.
‘‘This seems an appropriate place for the central library and contradicts assertions as to the suitability of the site for council infrastructure,’’ she said.
Ms Quinlin said the previous administration building at Warilla should be used for a new central library.
‘‘Warilla is the largest library catchment in the city comprising a third of its inhabitants ... this will also avoid leasing costs and the removal of the war memorial and destruction of the Peace Grove.’’
Ms Quinlin said the council should sell the City Hub site to fund the Lamerton House refurbishment and the adaptive reuse of the previous administration building at Warilla.
The council’s general manager Michael Willis stressed that Warilla would continue to have its own library, regardless of the outcome of any sale and the development of a city library.
He also said that whatever the result of the sale process, the Freedom Wall and Peace Grove on the Warilla site would be preserved, and most likely moved to another location.
“These memorials would be handled with the utmost care and respect during any relocation and would continue to be accessible to the community,” Mr Willis said.
The sale process is being managed by CBRE Australia and MMJ Wollongong.