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Backlash over proposal to relocate West Kildonan Library

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A new chapter could be on the way for Winnipeg's West Kildonan Library but some residents aren't ready to turn the page – May 10, 2022

A new chapter could be on the way for Winnipeg’s West Kildonan Library but some residents aren’t ready to turn the page.

In a report tabled at City Hall, the public service is recommending the library be moved from its current Jefferson Avenue location to a space the city would lease inside the Garden City Shopping Centre.

The city says the current branch, built in 1967, struggles to accomodate the needs for library users and has limited parking.

Daniel Guenther, chair of the Garden City Residents’ Association, says the mall is an inaccessible and unsuitable location for the library.

“It’s unfit for a modern library branch.” Guenther said at a city committee meeting Monday.

He says the space lacks exterior windows, greenspace and a dedicated exterior entrance and residents have told him the mall lacks safe pedestrian pathways to connect the mall to city sidewalks.

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Steve Snyder, another resident against the proposal says libraries are meant for the general public, but worries about accessibility.

For instance, people experiencing homelessness or people who are struggling with addictions quite often use services in libraries,” Snyder said.  “And those aren’t the sorts of people that a commercial entity would want in their facility too often.”

Councillors in the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage, and Downtown Development voted to move the proposal to Executive Policy Committee later this month with a recommendation that the “security regulations set out by the landlord not infringe on the public’s access to library services.”

 

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