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'Our city deserves this': Council approves funding for Regina Central Library renewal


Regina City Council has approved funding for the Regina Public Library (RPL) Central Library Renewal Project.

RPL estimated costs to be between $92 million and $119 million.

“We need your financial support,” RPL board member Cindy Kobayashi told councillors at a special meeting Tuesday. “There is an interested party to partner on this project.”

“We’ve completed a feasibility study on a fundraising campaign with a goal in mind,” she added.

RPL has been trying to get council approval to revitalize the central location since 2009.

“We are – relative to other priorities – a modestly-sized project that could fit into the city’s priority schedule much sooner,” Kobayashi said. “We are poised to move forward.”

“It’s investment and replacing civic infrastructure that is 60 years old,” Mayor Sandra Masters told reporters following Tuesday’s meeting. “There will be savings on utilities and increased amenities.”

“It is a community hub and I think that is what’s really important,” she added.

Council approval means planning and design phases can go ahead.

It is not yet confirmed where the cash to fund the project will come from.

But it is possible the city digs further into debt to finance it. Administration also believed they would need to request a debt limit increase from the Saskatchewan Municipal Board should that be the avenue they pursue.

Another option presented would be the use of property tax revenue. This would involve a 5.5 per cent increase in the mill rate dedicated to the Regina Public Library for a period of five years.

The increase would represent a 0.5 per cent increase in the overall mill rate – equalling 96 cents per month for the average household in Regina or $11.52 annually.

It could also mean other capital projects are delayed.

The motion, put forward by Ward 2 Coun. Bob Hawkins to approve the funding passed 4 – 3. Coun. Findura, Mancinelli and Mayor Sandra Masters supported the approval.

“Our city deserves this,” Hawkins said. “Our children and our grandchildren deserve this.”

Coun. Stadnichuk, Nelson and Bresciani voted against approving the funding.

“This is fiscally irresponsible,” Bresciani called out. “We have water and wastewater our residents deserve and need to have.”

“Those are urgent needs,” she added.

Coun. LeBlanc, Stevens, Mohl and Zachidniak were not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

Bresciani hoped options that did not include a complete rebuild are taken into account, asking if a move to the former ‘The Bay’ store at Cornwall Centre as an example.

“We’ve already got the 125,000 square feet [at The Bay],” Bresciani said.

“A big part of the debt contributor would be leasing costs,” Colliers RPL Project Leader Mitchell Kolbeck responded. “So from a cost perspective, the mill rate increase and the debt increase would be about the same.”

The approval allows RPL to move forward with planning and designing possible structures, or to seek moving into a new building.

“It’s always about cost effectiveness,” Mayor Masters said. “And depending on how it comes in, costs will have a significant impact on what the final product looks like.”

However, the next city council – to be elected in November – will have the final say when shovels hit the ground. Top Stories

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