Manager disapproves of Williamsburg library plan

 

A recent letter to South Dundas officials and council from Karen Franklin, manager of library services for the SD&G County Library, has raised alarm about the potential for new library space in Williamsburg.

South Dundas council agreed that a 558 square foot addition to the existing North Williamsburg Recreation building, along with some shared existing space, is a likely opportunity to bring library space back to Williamsburg. 

Such an addition could cost in the vicinity of $90,000, according to South Dundas CAO Steve McDonald.

Council has already authorized some preliminary design work that would allow more accurate costing to take place.

That work will allow council to make a final decision on whether or not to pursue the project.

In the meantime, Franklin’s letter was distributed to South Dundas council and others.

“I was surprised by the tone of the letter,” said South Dundas deputy mayor Jim Locke, who is also a member of the SD&G County Library board. 

Board members were copied on the letter, which states that the proposed space is too small and that any space sharing would make it difficult to operate the location as a library. 

Franklin also noted that the configuration of the space would present visibility issues, making it unfavourable for effective public service. 

“Simply put, the building does not adhere to the most basic standards for a public library facility,” she wrote.

Despite the letter, members of South Dundas council are still convinced that the proposed space will work for the library and for the community.

“We want to make darn sure that we can do this,” said South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan. “I don’t want to spend the money on this project, and then have them (SD&G Library) say that it’s not appropriate. Can they say no? Is that an option? We definitely need some sort of commitment from the library board on this.”

“A lot of people have done a lot of work to get this resolved,” he added, council agreed with his sentiments.

“Where the library board will take this, I don’t know,” said Locke at the September 17 South Dundas council meeting, adding that he would raise the issue with the board. The library board met September 19, and according to Locke the issue was discussed. 

Discussions revealed a lack of communication between library and township staff concerning the project. Locke believes that lack of communication will be rectified when the library and township officials meet. The board has asked that the meeting take place. 

After that meeting, the board has agreed they will meet again regarding the issue, if necessary, Locke explained.

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