Acording to the City plan, the Main Ottawa Public Library on Metcalfe Street will close and a new Central Public Library will open in 2020. There is a lot of excitement about this major and much needed project. And there is much to like in the plans so far released.
However, the right location is crucial. The Centretown Citizens Community Association and 15 others across the urban area, support keeping the new Central Library in the downtown core (east of Bronson). Bookmark the Core is a citizens’ group whose mission is to advocate that the Library remains in the heart of the City.
In July, the Library Board released a list of 12 possible sites for the New Central Library (see map on reverse). At its August in camera meeting, the Board selected a short list of sites but refused to release it. CBC reporter Joanne Chianello summed it up: “The rest of the City will find out which properties the board is considering only after it’s all a done deal. The public will then get five days to read the report before it goes to the Board for a vote.” The Board will vote in December.
At the October 11th Library Board Meeting, Councillor McKenney plans to sponsor a motion that, if approved, would require the Library Board to release the short list at its November meeting. The Councillor and the community believe that the public has a right to know the sites being considered.
The Board’s refusal to release the short list intensifies our concerns. LeBreton Flats appears to be the favoured area. Early in 2016, the Mayor and a Public Library Board report floated the concept that “downtown is moving west”. The winning proposal for the LeBreton Flats development includes a new Central Library at the Pimisi station – site number 11 on map.
Why Centretown? Centretown’s population is larger by a significant margin than the neighbourhoods west of Bronson. 25,623 people live in the central area between Bronson and the Canal – including Centretown and the Central Business District just north of Gloucester (2011 census). 98,000 employees worked in the City’s CBD as of 2011 (City’s Downtown Moves Study 2013). A remarkable 81% of the main library users walk to library. Finally, Centretown’s population will continue to grow at a rate significantly faster than any of the other neighbourhoods, including LeBreton Flats, well into the 2030s. The Library must be located where most of the people live and work.
Centretown’s diverse population includes many low-income residents who rely on the services of a central library including free use of computers and WiFi.
Last but not least, Centretown residents should know that if the New Central Library is not located in Centretown, there are no plans for a branch Library replacement.
Come to the Oct 11 meeting, 5 pm in the Champlain Room at City Hall and send a message to the Library Board Chair, Tim Tierney and the Mayor demanding that the sites being considered by the Library Board are made public at least one month in advance of a final decision on the preferred site.
To continue the conversation join us at the…
CCCA Annual General Meeting
to be held on Tuesday, October 18 at 7:00pm Mcnabb Community Centre (180 Percy) or contact us at
or contact us at email@example.com