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Guelph city council approves $67.1 million library for Baker District

Guelph city council approved $67 million in construction costs for a new library in the city's Baker District development.
Guelph city council approved $67 million in construction costs for a new library in the city's Baker District development. City of Guelph

Guelph city council have approved $67.1 million in construction costs of a new library for the Baker District in the city’s downtown core.

It passed in a 9-4 vote this week during a meeting of councillors who also approved $15 million for site remediation, $21 million for parking and $2.6 million for an urban square.

READ MORE: Guelph mayor asking to push back $67M library vote until November

The city said the project would be funded from a variety of sources including development charges, proceeds from the sale of assets, parking revenues and property taxes.

Staff told council an additional 0.86 per cent would be added to property taxes to help pay for the cost. It would be phased in over three years and then be in place for as long as 20 years.

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The city plans on applying for up to $36.6 million in funding for the library from upper levels of government, which could help reduce the property tax and debt impacts.

They are also awaiting more details from the provincial government on Bill 108 and the impact it could have on eliminating certain fees for developers that usually help fund projects like libraries.

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Mayor Cam Guthrie had hoped to push back the decision by a couple months given the financial uncertainties. He ultimately voted against the cost, along with Couns. Mark MacKinnon, Bob Bell and Dan Gibson.

READ MORE: New main branch of Guelph Public Library may be smaller than expected

With the approval, the project can move onto the next phase that includes detail design. However, all of the costs approved will now be incorporated into the capital budget and forecast which still need to be voted on later this year.

An update on the project is expected by early December.

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