Some Winnipeg residents are expressing their concerns after learning the City of Winnipeg is considering leasing a space at the Garden City Shopping Centre to use as the West Kildonan Library.
“It’s extremely alarming,” said Daniel Guenther, chair of the Garden City Residents’ Association, in an interview on Monday.
“We have a beautiful West Kildonan Library that’s served the area since 1967.”
Guenther added the city’s proposal would see the closure of the current library to “open a small, dark, inaccessible spot in Garden City Shopping Centre, which we’ve highlighted would not have a single window.”
CTV News Winnipeg previously reported that in June 2021 the public service issued an expression of interest for proposals for suitable facilities for the new library. Two proposals were evaluated and the space at the Garden City Shopping Centre received the higher score.
Guenther said the proposal for the space at the Garden City Shopping Centre didn’t meet the requirements for what a new library needs.
“They want to spend $6.5 million on this proposal. $6.5 million paid to a private developer to put money into a space that the city will never own,” he said.
“That seems like a bad deal for taxpayers.”
Guenther added the community is “outraged.”
“The community is calling. I have school trustees calling me, I have school principals calling me, parents, neighbours,” he said.
“They want to have their voice heard on this.”
Guenther said he wants Coun. Devi Sharma and Coun. Ross Eadie to stand with the community and oppose this proposal.
Eadie, who represents the Mynarski ward, said he does not support the relocation and closing of the library, but added the new location has a good value.
“It all comes down to the money,” Eadie said. “So if we are going to keep the local library, the real battle is to establish the operating dollars for a fourth library up in this area.”
Eadie said he will propose a motion on May 26 to evaluate supporting a West Kildonan Library.
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