| Jun 18, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - June 11, 2009 Surprise Funding for New Sydenham Library Proposalby Wilma Kenny

Almost a week after most other project grants had been announced, South Frontenac learned at noon Tuesday that their application for funding for a new library and fully centralized municipal offices had been approved. Under the Communities component of the Building Canada and Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, the Provincial and the Federal governments will each contribute $726, 667, for a total of almost $1.5 million.

If the Township Council agrees to go ahead with the project as recommended by their library committee, they will contribute a matching third, which could come from the $1.3 million set aside in reserve for upgrades to the municipal buildings.

Sydenham library is by far the most heavily used branch outside Kingston: and at 0.18 sq. ft. per capita of local library space, South Frontenac is far below the recommended guideline of 0.5 sq. ft. per capita, and the KFPL system-wide average of 0.56. Building a new library would have the additional advantage of freeing up space in the present building for more township office space, so the treasury offices could be relocated from Keeley Road to join the other municipal offices.

A Sydenham Library Redevelopment Committee has been working with architects Shoalts and Zabeck to determine feasibility of the site, and develop a budget for the proposed project: it will now have to go to Council for approval to continue. Councilors Fillion and Robinson both expressed their disapproval of the project.

The grant application for the Sydenham Library was done under the auspices of Frontenac County, as was the South Frontenac ambulance application. Including these two projects, South Frontenac alone received in excess of $4 million in federal and provincial grants over the past week.

(Editor’s note – In this era of full disclosure, we might as well reveal that our intrepid South Frontenac Council reporter, Wilma Kenny, is also a member of the Kingston Frontenac Library Board. Not only that, but when Wilma was assigned to take a photo of Scott Reid presenting a check for $2.36 million on Saturday afternoon, she took the opportunity to ask him whether there was any funding program for the new library, which was the only project applied for in Frontenac County that had not received funding. We might never know if it made any difference, but 72 hours later the money arrived - JG

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