Media release: Independent review needed into Waikanae Library toxic mould

Mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton is calling for an independent review of Kāpiti Coast District Council’s asset management practices following the news 16 years of issues with Waikanae Library didn’t sound any alarm balls before toxic mould was discovered in November 2018 and forced the library to be closed.

“The fact it still took four months of staff complaining about asthma like symptoms, on top of 16 years of issues with the Waikanae Library building, for Council to finally act raises serious concerns about the processes Kāpiti Coast District Council have in place for managing their assets,” says Mr Compton.

“Given this occurred over such a long period of time, and the cost of fixing the library has ballooned up to $2 million as a result of the failure to detect these major issues earlier, it’s difficult for the community to have confidence that Council is adequately equipped to investigate themselves over this. An independent review is needed to take an impartial look at what’s gone wrong and recommend changes to improve how Council operates.”

Gwynn Compton is also advocating that any review needs to cover off both Kāpiti Coast District Council’s asset management practices and look into why staff complaints about potential health issues caused by the toxic mould that was eventually discovered weren’t investigated sooner.

“Council staff deserve to work in a safe environment and based on what we’ve seen publicly it’s worrying that their concerns weren’t taken seriously sooner. That 27,000 books also need to be decontaminated also raises the question about whether any members of the public who used the library have been potentially exposed to toxic mould spores.”