Library closure hits café staff

Staff of Clark’s Café, which was housed inside the Wellington Central Library, have been left without jobs following the closure of the building due to earthquake concerns. Wellington City Council said that it could be years before the building is reopened, which was closed on Tuesday after an engineering report showed structural deficiencies which could be dangerous in the case of an earthquake.

Wellington mayor Justin Lester said that while the Council was not legally obliged to close the building, it was a moral obligation to protect the 3000 daily library users, including 500 children. The flooring in the library was the same as that in several administration buildings damaged in the Kaikoura earthquake and in Statistics House, which had two floors collapse in the same event.

Clark’s Café owner Samuel Huy only found out about the imminent closure a few hours before the news was made public.

“Waking up this morning I just thought it would be another Tuesday, next minute you realise you might have to let staff know there might not be another job going for them tomorrow and there’s no job for yourself tomorrow,” he said. He said that he understood the reasons behind the decision, and as a final act the café donated all its unsold food to a homeless shelter.

Huy has owned the business for ten years, with a lot of his staff having worked for him for five years. Huy is in the process of finding a new premises but is still coming to terms with the situation.

Anyone who may have a new site for Clark’s Café can contact Huy on clarkscafe@gmail.com.