City’s oldest library to be renovated, not replaced
Staff advise $2M makeover, but residents’ group let down
Ottawa’s oldest library, the nearly-100-year-old Rosemount library in Hintonburg, will get a $2-million makeover, despite residents pushing for an entirely new building.
A report set to go before the Ottawa Public Library board on Tuesday compared the business cases for a variety of options, including rehabilitation, relocation, or leasing a commercial space. Ultimately, the review found that rehabilitation was the only affordable option.
That has not come as welcome news to the Rosemount Expansion and Development Group (READ), who have led the push for a new building.
“READ is very disappointed with the report,” said READ chair Josh Nutt, in a statement on Friday.
“Rosemount lacks many of the basic amenities that are available at other branch libraries. Unfortunately, the OPL’S approach to this project lacks long-term vision.
“If the OPL’S current plan goes through, we will continue to be underserved for another 30 years.”
Last year, Coun. Jeff Leiper asked the Ottawa Public Library board to shelve existing renovation plans, and asked the board to look at growth projections for the west-end ward. Hintonburg had not been identified as a priority location for a new library building, but the Rosemount Branch has long been pressed for space.
Built in 1918, the Rosemount branch is smaller, and the building can’t be expanded because of its age.
This, along with population growth in the neighbourhood, has put pressure on the facility. Data compiled by READ suggests that compared to four other urban branches, Rosemount has nearly double the number of residents per square foot.
The current building comes in at just over 6,000 square feet. In a 2016 report summarizing consultations with the community, READ said that for their neighbourhood to be properly served, the new library would need to be far bigger, coming in at 10,000 and 15,000 square feet.
With the plan to build a new central library still on the table awaiting funding commitments from the feds, spending on a new library in Hintonburg is not currently a priority.
The OPL has a pay-as-you-go funding envelope of $2.6 million, and the plan to rehab the library — which comes with a $2 million price tag — was the only option that came in under that figure.
The proposed plan still requires budget approval later this year.
If the spending is approved, construction is set to begin next winter and be completed by early 2020.
Rosemount lacks many of the basic amenities that are available at other branch libraries.
Rosemount branch in Hintonburg, built in 1918.
Metro | Ottawa