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Relocation of small, old Westwood Library could be pushed back

A plan to relocate the Westwood Library, at 66 Allard Ave., could be delayed.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

A plan to relocate the Westwood Library, at 66 Allard Ave., could be delayed.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/11/2015 (1296 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A recommendation to delay relocating and revamping the Westwood Library for at least four years is “laughable,” says the area’s former city councillor, Grant Nordman.

The former St. Charles councillor, who was defeated by Shawn Dobson in last year’s Winnipeg civic election, said the library is in desperate need of repair and is inaccessible for many residents in the greater region of the ward.

“My feeling was: too old, too small, non-accessible, let’s take the opportunity as a city… and develop an extraordinary meeting place, not just a library,” Nordman said of his support for the $1.2-million plan in 2012. “We had a perfect space on Portage Avenue, 13,000 square feet, almost ready to move in. It was in the budget for 2017, and the fact it has been (pushed back) is almost laughable.”

A report heading to today’s protection, community services and parks committee will recommend delaying the relocation of the library and instead reallocate the money to moving the West Kildonan Library in 2017 to a more centralized location. If approved, it will push the redevelopment/relocation of the Westwood Library to 2021.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/11/2015 (1296 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A recommendation to delay relocating and revamping the Westwood Library for at least four years is "laughable," says the area’s former city councillor, Grant Nordman.

The former St. Charles councillor, who was defeated by Shawn Dobson in last year’s Winnipeg civic election, said the library is in desperate need of repair and is inaccessible for many residents in the greater region of the ward.

"My feeling was: too old, too small, non-accessible, let’s take the opportunity as a city… and develop an extraordinary meeting place, not just a library," Nordman said of his support for the $1.2-million plan in 2012. "We had a perfect space on Portage Avenue, 13,000 square feet, almost ready to move in. It was in the budget for 2017, and the fact it has been (pushed back) is almost laughable."

A report heading to today’s protection, community services and parks committee will recommend delaying the relocation of the library and instead reallocate the money to moving the West Kildonan Library in 2017 to a more centralized location. If approved, it will push the redevelopment/relocation of the Westwood Library to 2021.

The 2014 capital budget had allocated $100,000 for planning and consultation for the Westwood Library, and the hope was to move it into the Westwood Village Shopping Centre, Nordman said.

Nordman’s successor, Dobson, doesn’t agree with Nordman’s take on the facility’s lifespan and told the Free Press he plans to fight the plan to move the nearly 50-year-old library.

"It should be on hold indefinitely," Dobson said. "It has been good enough for a number of years. It’s not the ideal, but it will have to do for now."

According to Dobson, the community of Westwood doesn’t want its library moved, and leasing the building as opposed to buying the property will be a further expense to the city.

"The community, of course, would love to keep it right where it is," Dobson said. "We’re going to put it off until 2021, and hopefully going to put it off again, I’ll just keep on delaying it — it is not a smart move."

Dobson said he believes the previous administration under then-mayor Sam Katz prioritized the library in 2012 because it wanted to decommission the adjacent Kinsmen Allard Arena and sell the two properties together.

In 2012, Katz unveiled a $21-million plan to rebuild eight of the city’s aging libraries, including Westwood and West Kildonan.

"They wanted to shut down the Allard arena at the same time," Dobson said. "I said there is no reason to shut down the arena; it is a great facility that doesn’t cost the city any money."

The Westwood Library on Allard Avenue was to be replaced in 2017 for $1.2 million, while the West Kildonan Library on Jefferson Avenue, located on the edge of the Mynarski ward, close to the Old Kildonan ward border, would be replaced in 2020 for $1.8 million.

According to the administrative report, a new West Kildonan Library is a better strategic plan, as it is currently located less than 1.5 kilometres from the St. John’s Library.

kristin.annable@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Friday, November 27, 2015 at 9:53 AM CST: Corrects ward location of West Kildonan library

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