Finance committee approves plan for new Ottawa Central Library

File photo of Ottawa city hall. Francis Vachon / The Canadian Press

Ottawa Council’s Finance and Economic Development Committee approved Tuesday the plan for the new central library.

According to the committee, the city would build the library as a joint facility with Library and Archives Canada at 557 Wellington St. The plan is to have the building open by 2024.

The city says it would contribute $104.2 million to the $174.8–million facility, as well as the full cost of the parking garage at $18.1 million. The city says that the underground garage, which will have 200 spaces, would be cost-neutral, based on the estimated revenue from parking fees.

The committee also approved a $60.9-million Brownfields Rehabilitation Grant for Windmill Dream Ontario Holdings LP, the largest such grant in the city’s history.

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The city says that the estimated additional property taxes that this development will net will surpass the amount of the grant in approximately 12 years.

The remediation project of 3 and 4 Booth St. would take approximately 10 years and the former industrial site, which takes up 16 acres of Chaudière and Albert Islands, will eventually house 1,121 residential spaces, 11,700 square metres of retail space, 66,500 square metres of office space, says the city.

A report approved by the committee was also presented and showed Hydro Ottawa delivered a $1.9-million surplus to the city, which will be reinvested. Some $1.3 million of the surplus will be used for road resurfacing and $633,000 in energy-efficiency programs, as well as some upgrades to city facilities.

The committee also approved using $1 million of funds from completed projects as a one-time increase in spending for pothole and asphalt repairs.

Coun. Michael Qaqish, the special liaison for refugee resettlement, updated the committee on refugee resettlement in Ottawa. According to Qaqish, Ottawa welcomed 4,685 refugees between January 2015 and February 2018.

“Staff will continue to work with community agencies to monitor trends and address emerging issues,” wrote the city in a release.

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Items approved by the committee will go to city council on June 13.

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