Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen
October 9, 2017
A proposed $2-million renovation to an aging central-west Ottawa Public Library branch still isn’t good enough for an advocacy group that wants a bigger and better library.
The OPL has been trying to figure out what to do about the Rosemount library branch in Hintonburg, considering it has a limited capital budget and growing needs for library services in the suburbs.
Rosemount has been the OPL’s renewal priority, but there are competing views about how to improve the library branch. The OPL could renovate the library to bring it up to code or relocate it to another building in the community.
Renovating is the cheapest option.
On Tuesday, library management will ask trustees to approve setting aside money in the 2018 budget to complete a renovation of the oldest OPL branch still operating in its original building, dating back to 1918.
The OPL is following the advice of consultants who determined that renovating the existing branch is most affordable.
That doesn’t sit well with the Rosemount Expansion and Development Group (READ), which has been pressing the OPL to expand the library’s services.
READ chair Josh Nutt said the community group wants library trustees to put off a decision to renovate the branch.
“We don’t want that decision to be made before there’s a final decision on the central library,” Nutt said.
The OPL has been focused on establishing a new central library in the LeBreton Flats in partnership with Library and Archives Canada. The city is still waiting to hear if Library and Archives Canada will receive federal money to build the $168-million joint facility.
The municipal contribution to the central library project would be $99 million. If, for whatever reason, the project fell through, there could be some funds freed up for other library priorities.
Nutt said that if the central library project goes ahead, Hintonburg will still need a community library, even though the current branch at 18 Rosemount Ave. is roughly 1.5 kilometres from the future central library site at 557 Wellington St.