Troy Davies questions need for standalone downtown Saskatoon library building

Coun. Troy Davies said standalone buildings are not the way to do business anymore as the case for a new downtown Saskatoon library was debated at committee. Devon Latchuk / Global News

Troy Davies indicated he will move later this month that the board for the Saskatoon Public Library revise its business case for a new building.

The Ward 4 councillor said standalone buildings are not the way to do business anymore.

READ MORE: Saskatoon Public Library proposes new $154M downtown building

Davies made the comment at a committee meeting on Tuesday as councillors weighed in on a proposed new downtown library.

“You need to have other amenities in those buildings,” Davies said.

“I won’t support any standalone buildings moving forward.”

Davies questions the size and price tag of the facility, as well as the tax impact, and how it will affect capital projects moving forward.

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“I know they need a new building, but to wait an extra year for a fresh new council who has all the facts and all the capital projects being presented by our administration and has all the numbers, they make the call,” Davies said.

“If we make this decision at budget now … we’re going to have close to three per cent tax increase every year for the next six years without even touching the budget.”

READ MORE: Search narrowed down for potential new downtown Saskatoon library sites

A report released in September said the current central library has become too small to serve as a central location.

It said the Frances Morrison Central Library (FMCL) building was designed for 50 employees and to hold under 100,000 items. There are currently 87 employees at the location with over 256,000 items.

The current building was also found to have building code deficiencies, including insufficient fire exits, a leaking roof and dated mechanical systems that would require a complete retrofit.

The report said a new building of 149,000 square feet — almost double the size of the current building — is needed to replace FMCL.

Library director Carol Cooley thinks a new facility will have many positive impacts, but said they will have to wait and see what council decides.

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City council will vote on borrowing the $87.5 million needed for the $154 million project during budget talks at the end of November.

The library report said the $87.5 million would be repaid through the library levy, with the remainder of the money for the project coming from reserve funds, land sale proceeds of the current building and donations.

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Saskatoon Public Library proposes new $154M downtown building – Sep 20, 2019

With files from Nicole Stillger

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