Council approves staff recommendations to include new Main Library as part of the Baker District development

Development partner will be chosen this summer

Guelph, Ont., February 14, 2018—Last night Council approved four recommendations from staff related to the Baker District development including the size of and costs to design and build a new Main Library as part of this major capital project.

The Guelph Public Library’s (GPL’s) business case identified the need for an 8,175 square metre (88,000 square foot) space to meet current and future library needs. Staff supported GPL’s business case in its report to Council and requested that Council approve the size as well as $1.9 million in capital funding to design and build the library as part of the Baker Street development.

A development partner is expected to be chosen this summer. Currently the City is evaluating the 10 proposals it received through the request for pre-qualifications. Staff expects to notify short listed candidates in March and will then seek Council approval to proceed with the request for proposals stage with the short-listed candidates.

There will be multiple opportunities for the community to participate in the development of the Baker District project moves ahead, both through GPL as it develops the new library space and programming, and through the City as the Baker District design concepts are developed. Opportunities for engagement will be shared with the community this multi-year project progresses, with events expected to begin in 2019.

Council also approved three motions put forward by Mayor Cam Guthrie:

  • That the Province reinstate appropriate funding for local libraries which will be communicated to the Province through a letter from the Mayor,
  • That City staff work with GPL staff on the disposition of the current Main Library building with the aim of using any resulting funds to support the new library, and
  • A request to the Library Board that operating efficiencies be identified for the new Main Library.

Background

The Baker District redevelopment is a City of Guelph development project aimed at transforming the existing parking lot and properties fronting the north end of Wyndham Street into a unique mixed-use development.

The Downtown Secondary Plan envisions the Baker District redevelopment becoming a model of urban intensification that drives visitors to the downtown and encourages business to thrive within its boundaries by combining residential and commercial spaces.

For more information visit guelph.ca/bakerdistrict.

Quotes

“Council’s approval to include a new Main Library as part of the Baker District lets us move ahead with our process to find a developer who can realize this next step in revitalizing our downtown core. We’re excited to have the Guelph Public Library as a partner in this project.”

Derrick Thomson, Guelph’s Chief Administrative Officer

“A new main library is about far more than additional space for books. It’s about economic development, helping people find jobs, boosting tourism and culture, supporting people in need, encouraging consumer spending downtown and revitalizing upper Wyndham. Council is united in support for this project.”

Mayor Cam Guthrie

“The Library Board is really pleased to have achieved this milestone. City Council’s support of our business case as part of a major downtown redevelopment is confirmation that a new Main Library is not only sorely needed, but a vital part of a thriving downtown community.  We’re eager to hear more from the community about what they want their library to be, and Library Board members and staff are looking forward to working with the Mayor, Council and City Staff to realize this new library space.”

Steve Kraft, Chief Executive Officer, Guelph Public Library

Resources

Media contact for Baker District

Peter Cartwright, General Manager
Business Development and Enterprise
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2820
peter.cartwright@guelph.ca

Media contact for Guelph Public Library

Steve Kraft, B.A., M.I.L.S., Chief Executive Officer
Guelph Public Library
519-824-6220 extension 224
skraft@guelphpl.ca