REGINA - Word that Regina Public Library would be relocating its downtown Central Library to a temporary location as of the fall of 2024 did not come as a surprise at City Hall.
In speaking to reporters Wednesday, Councillor John Findura, who chaired that day’s council meeting in the absence of Mayor Sandra Masters, had pointed out there were issues with the central library building in the past.
He pointed out the existing building had already had one incident where there was an unexpected boiler problem. “They had to shut down for I’m not sure exactly how long, maybe an hour or two or three, maybe a day.”
“But if we had a major breakdown, let’s say an electrical breakdown, it could be shut down for unforeseen time, and then you’re really shutting everything down.”
Findura noted it was the move by the Library Board to seek a location that would function as a library. He saw it as the board being proactive to “deliver their services to the citizens of Regina without having the problems of having a shutdown if some major breakdown happens.”
“They already had one. You never know something could happen — you have a problem with roof. You have a problem with electrical. You have a problem with boiler. Where do you stop and where do you say what’s next, right? So the board decided to go this route, that was their decision moving forward, making sure they provide service to the community.”
The current downtown Central Library building on 12th Avenue was built in 1962. Last fall, the Regina Public LIbrary board voted to move ahead with intentions for a new Central Library on their current downtown location site.
This was one of catalyst projects identified as a priority in the city’s Catalyst Committee recommendations made this year, though there has also been considerable sentiment from many Regina residents that the existing facility be renovated and upgraded instead of torn down.
On Wednesday, Regina Public Library confirmed that they would move the Central Library to a new temporary venue, with construction to take place on a new permanent building at their current site. Where that temporary venue would be is yet to be confirmed.
In their news release, the board identified the risk of unplanned closures as a main reason for the move to a temporary venue.
“The Board has determined that the risks of staying outweigh the benefits, and a temporary relocation downtown is the most prudent way forward,” said Marj Gavigan, Chair of Regina Public Library Board of Directors, in a statement.
“Remaining in the current building puts service delivery at risk and isn’t an effective use of taxpayer money.”