| Mar 15, 2007


Feature Article - March 15, 2007

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Feature Article - March 15, 2007

Ompah library expansion proposal defferedbyJeffGreen

The Ompah library expansion committee came to a meeting of North Frontenac Council last week, seeking support for a planned $70,000 upgrade to the small facility, which measures 240 square feet in area.

Marily Seitz, John Inglis, and John Walters presented a report, which outlined 7 deficiencies of the current library. There is an overall lack of space for materials and patrons in the library. In addition, the librarian does not have enough desk space; the public internet access computer is crowded in behind the librarian and it faces the door (a privacy concern); there is only one window and its light is blocked by bookshelves; the building is not wheelchair accessible; patrons must go outside to access washroom facilities in the community centre; and the library has no closet.

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The expansion committee’s proposal deals with all of these concerns. “We propose constructing a new structure of 20 by 27 (540 square foot). We suggest that the new structure be self insulated, with a ramp and wide door to allow wheelchair access, a door into the community centre to allow access to the washrooms, and windows that allow the librarian to see approaching patrons and to bring in more natural light. We would like to see a seating area for patrons to use as they browse,” the report proposes.

“We estimate that the new construction would cost around $70,000,” said committee member John Inglis, “and we are seeking approval in principle from council today so we can approach the library board with this and then begin fundraising. At a later date we will likely come back to council looking for funds for a portion of the costs, but we don’t know how much money we will be seeking.”

In extolling the virtues of an expansion, Marily Seitz, of the Ompah Library Committee said that Ompah residents are avid readers. “The Ompah library is more heavily used than the one in Plevna, for example, even though we have a smaller population base,” she said.

The Ompah library has been serving double duty in recent months, as the Plevna library has been closed because the employee union is concerned about mould issues at the location.

While council expressed their interest in the Ompah library initiative, concerns about the overall status of the Ompah community centre, the fire hall and the library, which are all attached, led council to ask the group to wait until a facilities review takes place later this year. “You’ve made a compelling case,” said Mayor Ron Maguire, “but we can’t respond today because we are looking at the overall building itself.”

The issues that the township is grappling with are two-fold. The fire hall is too small, needing a new bay to house a wildfire truck, but the ground in the area is unsuitable for further building because it is too soft. As well, the community centre has been sagging at the rear of the building.

Councilor Fred Perry, who chairs the township’s fire committee, said that the building is safe, “but it needs to be looked at as whole before any additions are contemplated.”

“Council will be setting up a task force, soon, to consider facilities issues in Ompah and with our other halls. I would like to see this task force complete its work by the end of the summer,” Mayor Maguire told the delegation.

“We don’t want to wait four to six to eight or ten years,” said John Inglis.

“It won’t take that long,” said Fred Perry.

“We would like to be involved,” said John Inglis.

“I think the entire community will be involved,” said Deputy Mayor Jim Beam.

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