Council opts out of library merge

Mike Rayner says merging with Richmond libraries would not make sense for Tweed.
Mike Rayner says merging with Richmond libraries would not make sense for Tweed. John Gass

TWEED Shire council could look to the Gold Coast to maintain library services for ratepayers.

Councillors voted today to advise Lismore, Ballina and Byron councils that it would not participate in a county council structure for the management of its libraries.

The shire has been part of the Richmond Tweed Regional Library that included the three other councils.

The Richmond Tweed Regional Library model was not a legal entity so the council had been negotiating for a different structure.

In February, Ballina Shire council resolved to investigate a county model.

Tweed Shire Council general manager Mike Rayner said the issue had been discussed for years.

"We have been at this for four years," Mr Rayner said.

"It was timely for this council to be very clear on where it did stood and didn't stand."

Mr Rayner said the county model would take the power away from council.

"It's not in the interest of our community," he said.

Councillor Kevin Skinner said the Tweed council owned 43% of the assets of the combined library service.

"Our relationship with the Gold Coast City Council can't be underestimated," Cr Skinner said.

"Obviously our biggest partner in this library situation is the Gold Coast City Council and on other services in the future.

"We need to be tapped in because it's such an enormous boost for the people in this shire. This would be the greatest thing that could happen to the people in this shire."

Cr Skinner said the Tweed would have to look more to the Gold Coast for service sharing.

Cr van Lieshout said the Tweed was at risk of losing its identity if it joined the Gold Coast with services.

"If we are going to be a region that different then we have to be careful not to sell ourselves out," she said.

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