Wednesday, October 24, 2018


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To the Editor,

I noted with some interest the council move to hire a consultant to assess the viability of the former Foodland building as a potential library.

Despite the painfully long process of discussing new library locations, there never seems to be mention of what to do with the CURRENT library building. It’s a beautiful 82 year-old building, but has no obvious potential to be a commercial entity, especially in a town with an average of 16 empty storefronts, not even counting the grocery store building, or the lengthy downtown stretch of abandoned houses and movie theatre.

The last thing the the ratepayers need is yet another municipal building, and the property is too small to be added to the inventory of 'development properties' (that oddly never seem to reach actual development), so the existing library might well be subject to the wreckers’ ball one day. This would be a shame.

I wonder what private enterprise would do, if they owned several properties, but were faced with the library dilemma?

Having worked in private industry all my life, I know they would be unlikely to keep hiring consultants.

I believe that one of the considerations private enterprise would strongly consider is moving all the unsaleable (and seldom viewed) artworks out of Meaford Hall, and putting them in a repurposed 1935 library building. It could be cosmetically touched up to suit this purpose.

Perhaps the arts community, if it is large enough, could set up a trust to maintain the building, as 'Friends of the Gallery'.

The library would be moved to Meaford Hall, where the current galleries would easily accommodate the book needs, and the lower level would easily accommodate the teens, children’s, and computer divisions of the library. Library use fully conforms to the cultural criteria used to secure the grant portion of rebuild funds acquired several years ago.

The Hall would then be actually used, in its entirety, every day! Imagine that!

This might actually make sense and save enormous sums of money, but no level of government espouses these two radical concepts, so it would probably never be considered by our local council. Pity.

Mike Robertson, Meaford

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