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Councillor wants library in budget

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 02/05) - City councillor Alan Woytuik says he fears City Hall plans for the Gerry Murphy arena site will overlook council's desire for a new library.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Coun. Alan Woytuik wants plans for a stand-alone library at the Gerry Murphy Arena site put into next year's budget. - Mike W. Bryant/NNSL photo

Woytuik made a notice of motion Monday, saying he intends to put plans for a stand-alone library back on the agenda for next year's budget.

He thinks the old arena site is the perfect place for one.

"If you try putting it in after the fact instead of planning for it right off the bat then you're in a compromised situation," said Woytuik.

Administration proposes setting aside $500,000 next year to begin building a park and civic plaza on the site.

The draft budget describes the civic plaza as consisting of an amphitheatre, bandstand, fountain, playground equipment, "support buildings," and lots of shrubs, trees and grass.

But there is no mention of a library. At least three councillors, including Woytuik, but Couns. Bob Brooks and Mark Heyck as well, have previously stated their support for a library there.

The city's library is housed on the second floor of Centre Square Mall.

Coun. Wendy Bisaro said council was given the option two years ago to build a new library or renovate the existing one. Council opted for $200,000 in renovations.

She said she was not in favour of a stand-alone library before, but an influx of cash from the federal government has changed her mind.

"I thought it was too expensive to go with the stand-alone," said Bisaro.

"Our financial picture has changed somewhat, and I will support us looking at building a stand-alone library."

She said money could be used from Yellowknife's $7.25 million share of Northern Strategy money.

Judy McLinton, a member of the Friends of the Yellowknife Public Library, said it doesn't matter if a new library is built on the Gerry Murphy site as long as one gets built.

"We didn't specify a spot but yes, that would be a good spot," said McLinton.

She said the present library is difficult to find, and there are worries that it is running out of space.