Archived Letter – 468

How did we get here?
After months of delegates speaking out against the proposed Library expansion, the project moves forward.
After a clear majority of the downtown businesses and building owners opposed the concept of how a 15,000 square foot Library will “re-vitalize Downtown Fergus”?
After retired Librarians, including a Library Board Member, wrote and spoke out about the actual role Libraries play in today’s society as becoming more prevalent on-line and as a drop off/pick up point.
Why do the Fergus BIA, Centre Wellington and Wellington County insist that a 15,000 square foot Library be jigsaw puzzled into Downtown Fergus?
It’s awful to imagine that anyone could oppose a Library expansion however, the truth is, the Library’s resources are not being expanded. The resources will be increased from 47,000 to 50,000. How does this constitute a 10,000 square foot addition?
Nobody will contest that the current Library requires revitalization but a $5,000,000, 10,000 square foot addition? Not one single individual from all levels of government, or involvement, can substantiate the need. In my profession that is all that matters. Is there a need?
During the current economic climate how can our local officials warrant an estimated $5,000,000 including $750,000 of Centre Wellington’s budget be spent on this project?
Why does the BIA support a Library expansion when this is not a part of their mandate? Is it because they saw it as an opportune moment to capitalize on a Riverscape development? What does expanding the Library have to do with beautifying our historic riverfront?
When a majority of the BIA’s members spoke out against the intrusive downtown project, why did the BIA Board Members ignore their request and continue on the same path?
Why did the Mayor of Centre Wellington ignore the pleas of the downtown business community?
Why when members of the Library Board spoke out did they support the County’s proposal?
Why when County Councilors heard the pleas of our community and suggested public input be sought was the project pushed through as if there was no question as to its validity?
Does the public at large realize that they have had no say in this matter? Do they realize a more modest expansion, sorely needed by our Historic Carnegie Library, would be more acceptable and sympathetic to our downtown core? Does the public realize that a more modest expansion would not require a suspected, grossly underestimated $266,000 be spent on remediation of contaminated soils adjacent to the Library?
So many people have leant their name to question this monstrosity from being built in downtown Fergus, a project more reminiscent of Downtown Toronto, starving for Greenspace. So many more have quietly voiced their opinion and questioned the thought process behind this project. It is time to speak out. It is time to voice your opinion. Pro or Con? A monumental waste of tax payers’ dollars or not?
Please, somebody, substantiate the need for a 15,000 square foot Library in Downtown Fergus. Please substantiate the loss of accessibility to delivery and emergency vehicles to the rear of our buildings. Please substantiate the loss of our patrons parking, tantamount to our businesses success.
I grew up believing I lived in a democracy. I grew up believing that the majority rules. What is the real reason for this project to be railroaded through all levels of government? I know, and have the signatures to prove, that a large majority of the downtown business community does not support this expenditure. I have personally only heard from a select few businesses and one small group of private citizens who support this project. What about the rest of our community?
Do you see the value in 5,000,000 of your tax dollars being spent on a 15,000 square foot Library in downtown Fergus? Does this improve your daily life? Will you come downtown more often during the week after the Library has been built? Will you spend more money supporting the downtown businesses because there is a 15,000 square foot Library in downtown Fergus?
Speak up or forever hold your peace.
“Local businessman, Steve Lund”

Steve Lund