City’s old­est li­brary to be ren­o­vated, not re­placed

Staff ad­vise $2M makeover, but res­i­dents’ group let down

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page - Kieran De­la­m­ont

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.

Josh Nutt

Ot­tawa Pub­lic li­brary

Rose­mount branch in Hin­ton­burg, built in 1918.

Metro | Ot­tawa

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