CBRM council got the information it requested about a year ago on the feasibility of renovating the former courthouse on Crescent Street in Sydney into the new home for the regional library.
James Abend, a senior designer with Stantec Consulting and who prepared the feasibility study, told council on Tuesday (Jan. 23) that the building is structurally sound, but renovation costs plus a needed expansion will cost taxpayers $30 million.
Despite Abend promoting the environmental sustainability of reusing the courthouse, that wasn’t enough to convince the regional librarian nor the chair of council’s library board that the former courthouse is the best option.
Lisa Mulak, the regional librarian, wasn’t impressed by the presentation. She is in favour of a new build even it means a longer wait for construction for a new home for the regional library in Sydney.
Councillor Eldon MacDonald chair’s the library board and has previously publicly supported a new build. He is concerned that renovation costs on the former courthouse will rise beyond the projections presented by Stantec Consulting. He also isn’t convinced that the renovated space will be the right fit for the library.
CBRM council has been looking for an appropriate location for a new library since the current James McConnell Memorial Library building became outdated and too small for modern library amenities.
A meeting between council and the library board and staff to review the courthouse renovation proposal is being planned and will take place within the next few weeks.