Ottawa – The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) released a report today recommending that the new Ottawa Central Library (OCL) be built as a joint facility with Library and Archives Canada (LAC) at 557 Wellington Street, which is located steps from Bronson and Albert Streets.
“557 Wellington is the perfect location on which to build one of Canada’s most inspiring libraries,” said Danielle McDonald, CEO of the Ottawa Public Library. “If the Federal Government approves, it’s large enough for both the OPL and LAC, and it benefits from the natural beauty of the escarpment and aqueduct in the area, has views on all sides, and is steps from the Pimisi LRT Station. A robust evaluation process determined there’s no better, nor more affordable, site in the Central Area.”
An expert site evaluation committee, overseen by a Fairness Commissioner, evaluated 12 potential sites against criteria developed with public input. The City-owned site at 557 Wellington Street ranked first at all stages of the evaluation process.
“This is without question the best site for the National Capital’s new world-class central library,” said Tim Tierney, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board, and Councillor for Beacon Hill – Cyrville. “Not only is this site several million dollars less expensive than the other options reviewed, but the joint facility with LAC will allow us to build in more programs and services at a lesser cost for taxpayers. That’s a big win.”
Staff has estimated the City-funded portion of the new 216,000 gross square feet joint facility to be $99 million. OPL and the City will develop the funding strategy for the new facility in the first half of 2017. OPL is also recommending that the facility be built using a design-bid-build procurement process in order to ensure control over its design. Throughout consultations, the public has expressed a strong interest in an iconic, architecturally-significant library building.
The full report is available at www.ottawacentrallibrary.ca.
The public has six weeks – rather than the usual five days – to review the information in the report before the OPL Board meets on January 31, 2017 to discuss and make decisions on the recommendations.
The public can comment on the staff recommendations via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Ottawa Central Library website. In addition, the public can attend and speak at the January Board meeting. Public delegations can find information on how to register at https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/opl_board.
Public opinion on the recommendations will also be collected through a survey in January to help support the OPL Board and Council’s final decisions.
Ottawa City Council will make the final decisions in principle on February 8, 2017.
The Government of Canada will make a decision regarding Library and Archives Canada’s participation in the joint facility in spring 2017.