Lucy-Faris Library plans head of election issue
The future of the Lucy-Faris Library has become a central election issue. The current site of this Aylmer library is on the ground floor of 115 rue Principale. The building has been found to be structurally incapable of accommodating more weight, currently limiting the expansion options of the building.
Consultations and plans for what to do about this library have been ongoing for over a decade, and during this municipal election cycle, candidates have varying opinions on how to solve the overcrowding at Lucy-Faris. Action Gatineau held a press conference outside the library September 29, announcing they back the idea of moving the library to a new location at a cost of $22.5 million. Aylmer District candidate for Action Gatineau, François Sylvestre, said he supports moving the library to the old Western Quebec School Board headquarters building on Frank Robinson Avenue near Lucerne Boulevard. He added the idea of moving some of the Old Aylmer Cultural Centre activities to the new library site, to make space available at the cultural centre for community activities. Leader of Action Gatineau and candidate for mayor, Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin explained that the party does not back one location in particular at the moment as there is a study underway to analyse the feasibility of several locations, including near Paul-Pelletier Pool. He did, however, state that he considers the Aylmer library to be a resource library, meaning it offers more services than the type designated as local service library. The neighbouring area of du Plateau is having a library built soon at a cost of $13 million, with the planning consultation held last month.
Audrey Bureau, candidate in the Aylmer ward, reports that residents want the library to stay put. “I favour the current location for a modern and expanded library,” Bureau told the Bulletin. “The city report on the possibility of reinforcing the structure of the current building is expected to be released soon.”
Incumbent candidate for Deschênes, Richard Bégin, noted that, since it is impossible to keep the Lucy-Faris building at 115 rue Principale, every effort must be put towards opening a new library as soon as possible. “We have ended up with a half-library,” said Richard Bégin. “It is less important to me that we choose where we put the library but that we get it done, as I am extremely disappointed that it wasn’t done during the last mandate.” Running against Bégin is Mike Duggan who considers the reasoning behind moving the library is not the best use of public resources. “We can renovate 115 rue Principale and expand west to offer a bigger library,” Duggan told the Bulletin. “In fact, Court Street belongs to the city and that offers an ideal location for all the needs of a contemporary library.”