Guelph council approves new downtown library, South End Community Centre

Designs show the new library plans for Guelph's Baker District redevelopment. City of Guelph

Guelph City Council on Wednesday voted in favour of two building projects that have caused much consternation within the community.

By a near-unanimous vote (12-1), council chose to support the new South End Community Centre.

Read more: Change of plans for new library in downtown Guelph’s Baker District redevelopment

The city estimates it will cost $80 million to build the new 165,000-square-foot community centre. Eighty-five per cent of the cost would be covered by development charges and the balance funded through taxes.

The more controversial Baker District alternative option was also passed by an 8-5 vote. In another vote, which also passed 8-5, council approved the proposed new 88,000-square-foot library.
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“Investing in Baker District and the South End Community Centre is about building our future and responding to Guelph’s growing and changing social, economic and environmental needs,” Guelph CAO Scott Stewart said in a release.

“Tonight’s decisions position our city to be future ready,” Stewart said Wednesday. “That is — building strong, vibrant, safe and healthy communities that foster resilience in the people who live here.”

Read more: Guelph’s proposed $67-million library will not receive government funding: mayor

Along with the library and residential space, the redevelopment of the Baker Street parking lot is also set to include an outdoor square, commercial and institutional space, and public parking.

It is estimated that the Baker District redevelopment will cost between $84.2 million and $89.2 million, including up to $62 million for the library.

Some of the cost for the library will be funded by a tax levy which will be in place for 20 years.