The mayor’s office agrees to keep the library open







<p>JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p>
<p>On Wednesday, EPC members opted to receive the proposal ‘for information’ rather than act on it, which will leave the current West Kildonian library in place and not continue the lease.</p>
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<p>JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS KITS</p>
<p>On Wednesday, EPC members opted to receive the proposal ‘for information’ rather than act on it, which will leave the current West Kildonian library in place and not continue the lease.</p>
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<p>The council’s most powerful committee has voted against a controversial plan to lease new space for West Kildonan Library and close its current location.			</p>
<p>The Policy Executive Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to side with residents who rallied and demanded a halt to the proposed relocation.  (Councillor Brian Mayes was absent.) The matter still awaits a final vote from council.			</p>
<p>Mayor Brian Bowman told reporters that significant community opposition had convinced him that the plan was best scrapped.  On Wednesday, EPC members opted to receive the proposal “for information” rather than act on it, which will leave the current library in place and not continue the lease.			</p>
<p>“We’re hearing from the community very loud and clear. It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this level of concern,” Bowman said.			</p>
<p>The plan would have triggered the closure of the West Kildonan Library branch at 365 Jefferson Ave.  and moved its services to a 15,000 square foot leased space in the Garden City Mall.			</p>
<p>At a protest rally on Tuesday, many locals argued that the proposal would do away with a cherished community center and replace it with a darker, private space farther from its current patrons.			</p>
<p>Daniel Guenther, president of the Garden City Residents’ Association, urged EPC members to keep the current branch of the library instead of moving it, arguing that it would also be the cheapest option.			</p>
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“Let’s invest in this great community asset, which is better for library users, better for residents, better for local schools, and better for taxpayers,” Guenther said.

City officials expect it will cost about $2 million to upgrade the mall space, plus annual rent of about $217,000 for the first five years and $232,000 for the new ones. next five.

Bowman said budgetary concerns factored into the decision.

“We have limited resources and so, I think if the community says the current asset is more than enough, I accept that,” he said.

Joyanne.pursaga@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga
Journalist

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves telling the stories of this city, especially when it comes to politics. Joyanne became a reporter at City Hall for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.


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