A new library – for whom?
At the last council meeting our councillors demanded that the federal government “take immediate measures to encourage teleworking everywhere in Gatineau, including the opening of GC co-working spaces throughout the territory, as quickly as possible”. The current pilot project which started eight months ago with an office in Gatineau is planned to continue until 2021. The federal government will then evaluate whether further expansions are warranted.
I certainly agree that we need a GC co-working in Aylmer, and that the city should help with this. However, the city is about to demolish the five-storey Place des Pionniers in order to replace it with just three storeys, meaning that there’ll be no room at all for any GC co-working since all three floors are already spoken for. There’s an obvious lack of coherence. The council justified its refusal of a fourth floor because “there is no interest from private or public organizations for rented spaces at 115 Principale St.”
This leaves me wondering exactly which public or community organizations and private companies were consulted about renting space at a new Place des Pionniers building. And given how quickly the city refused the request for an extra floor, when did these consultations happen?
Many of us felt optimistic about what this project would achieve given that the council described the demolition and reconstruction of Place des Pionniers as an opportunity to build something based on the current and future needs of this sector.
Yet with the city spending $44 million of taxpayer dollars to end up with a 3-storey building, will our future needs really be met? Last year, a citizens petition was presented to the council requesting that a fourth floor be considered in the plans of the new building. There is growing doubt in Aylmer about this project, and concern that we are missing a great opportunity. And that is a shame.