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Library parking lot could be up for sale soon

The lure of potential buyers outweighed the concerns of one city councillor and the library board when it came to declaring the parking lot behind the downtown library to be surplus.
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The parking lot behind the downtown library was a busy place on Tuesday. Robin MacLennan/BarrieToday

The lure of potential buyers outweighed the concerns of one city councillor and the library board when it came to declaring the parking lot behind the downtown library to be surplus.

"It is the library parking lot, the one people use," said Councillor Barry Ward, urging fellow councillors to "push the pause button" on the slap the surplus designation on the parking lot located at 60 Worsley St.

Ward argued that if the lot is sold, library patrons will be forced to park further away.

It's the same sentiment expressed in a letter to Council from library board chairman Ray Duhamel who said losing the lot could "harm the libary's ability to offer programs."

Toddler story times attract about 35 youngers each weekday morning, and 80 or more on Saturdays.

"We feel it is essential that a parking area be maintained close to the library for the safety of these parents, caregivers and children," he said, asking council not to declare the parking lot surplus.

The 65 spot parking lot was over three-quarters full at noon and at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. City staff say excess capacity exists in the immediate area.

"We are going to lose so much parking in the area," Ward argued. "Then we will be wondering why nobody uses the library."

He compared the situation at the newer Painswick branch located in Barrie's southend.

"When you use the Painswick library, you can park right outside the door," he said. "When you use the downtown library you can park farther away and walk three blocks with your kids."

Barrie CAO Carla Ladd said she expects there to be significant interest in the city's surplus downtown parking lots.

"And we feel if we market more than one property, there could be some some competitive bids," she said.

Ladd said it is possible that the property could be sold before the end of 2016. 

The decision will need final approval from council on March 21.




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Robin MacLennan

About the Author: Robin MacLennan

Robin MacLennan has been a reporter, photographer and editor for the daily media in Barrie, across Simcoe County and Toronto for many years. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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