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Budget 2018: Federal government commits $73M for new Ottawa super library

John Willing, Ottawa Citizen
February 27, 2018.

The federal Liberals will to help fund a $168-million super library, giving the City of Ottawa the confirmation it needs to start planning a facility on LeBreton Flats in collaboration with Library and Archives Canada.

The federal budget released Tuesday earmarks $73.3 million over six years for the joint facility, which includes funding for operations.

The city needed the federal government to provide $69 million for the construction of the building on the city-owned property at 557 Wellington St., which is west of Albert Street and Bronson Avenue. The city will pay $99 million for a new Ottawa Public Library (OPL) main branch in the facility, replacing the aging library building on Metcalfe Street.

Mayor Jim Watson, who was in the gallery in the House of Commons when Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the budget, said the “pressure” the city put on the feds to fund a joint facility paid off.

Watson expects reports will go to the library board and council about the next steps on the project.

On the issue of selling the current library building on Metcalfe Street, Watson told this newspaper that the city has been in “serious discussions” with a potential buyer but a deal hasn’t been locked up.

Coun. Tim Tierney, chair of the OPL board, welcomed the long-awaited news.

“This is not only a win for two levels of government and the taxpayer but it will allow for a world-class library next to light rail,” Tierney said. “This is a major milestone. Our board had the vision and the wait has been worth it.”

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