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P3 Library proposed for Bayview?

Fri Sep 30, 2005 Miss Vicky 

Last week I found a feature on the city's website that allows you to sign up for regular updates on what's happening at City Hall. I know what you're thinking - you must be a real municipal politics geek if you want that cluttering up your inbox on a regular basis! Maybe so. But the information is handy.

For example, you may have read in this week's Citizenabout a proposal for a new Central Library near Bayview and Scott, part of a scheme to develop the area around the transitway station. An intriguing notion, to be sure. Except the proposal comes from a developer not exactly known for creative urban mixed-use spaces, the design at this point is less than inspiring, and the whole thing would be a public-private partnership conditional (at first glance) on the developer being able to stuff as many condo units into the space as possible.

When I heard about this, I vowed to learn as much about this proposal as possible. So far my spidey-sense is tingling, but I wanted to get more info before responding in a knee-jerk fashion on the blog. I seem to recall a different proposal from this developer being floated before the Hintonburg Community Association's Zoning Committee a few months ago, and a new library sure wasn't part of the equation. It may be the company figures that adding a new library to the space might be a way to fast-track the process, help get the project built, and encourage the community and the city to overlook key elements. Like....I don't know... decent architecture. Or environmental sustainability. But that's just the knee-jerk speculation on my part, I admit. And while it might be amusing to write a blog entry comparing the possible new library to some of the company's other projects, I'd rather get a better sense of the proposal and its history first.

So imagine my delight when I got my first "upcoming meetings" installment of the city's e-news (which lists what committees are meeting, agenda highlights, and so on). Turns out Ottawa's Public Library Board is having a special meeting on Monday, October 3 at 6 p.m. in the Champlain Room at City Hall. On the agenda: a Presentation on Public-Private Partnership Proposal for a New Central Library.

Might be worth checking out, I think!

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