Sunday, April 18, 2021

Thoughts on Cost of New Library

To the Editor:

I find your recent editorial relative to the ‘actual’ end cost ( to the ratepayer) of the new library to be somewhat misleading. You claim that ratepayers have the benefit of $1.3 million in development costs to be collected from new developments. This may be true eventually, but for now this $1.3 million had to be borrowed, and interest will be paid, while the pace of ‘new development’ in Meaford is at a snail’s pace, or worse.

These funds may be quite a number of years down the road.

You extol the net dollar income benefit of selling the 390 Sykes St. property for $950,000 and the possible sale of the old library for $500,000, but these were, or are, already property of the ratepayers, so in effect the ratepayers donated existing real estate assets toward library costs. I would be amazed if private enterprise will want the old library at all, considering the state of the building, and the excess inventory of downtown real estate, too much of which has sat empty for years on end.

The ratepayers paid FAR too much for the former Foodland location, and the council and administration are understandably unwilling to admit this obvious error. The new library, to many, is an asset, but attempting to sugar coat the cost with money not in hand is inappropriate.

I also wonder if the municipality intends to abandon all vestiges of the ‘Heritage’ designation for downtown.

Right after passing the designation several years ago, Council immediately decided that a proposed five storey condo-retail complex did not have to comply. (Still waiting for the Silver Shovel ceremony on that one.)

Now we have built a new library which is the complete opposite of the criteria set out for the Heritage standards, and fits in with absolutely nothing downtown. What was the point?

Mike Robertson, Meaford

Editor’s Note: For clarification, the funds borrowed against future development charges will be repaid by development charges. As for paying too much for the former Foodland location, you and I certainly agree there, there were significantly less costly options available at the time.

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