Central library location announced

City councillors and staff have officially announced the proposed site of Ottawa’s new central library, a $200-million project planned for the Centretown block bounded by Albert, Bay, Slater and Lyon streets.

"The location is perfect," said Somerset Ward Coun. Diane Holmes. "I know that my residents are going to be thrilled."
Ottawa Council will be asked to set aside the $26 million to buy the land, which Ottawa Public Library Board Chair Jan Harder said is the high end of the land’s expected value.

City Librarian Barbara Clubb and seven other councillors joined Harder, who represents Barrhaven Ward, for Wednesday’s announcement.

Harder said the board actually chose the site almost a year ago, but waited to finalize plans before announcing the news.

Centretown News had revealed the several months ago that the new central branch of the library would be located in Centretown.

The plan is to purchase the entire block, though the library itself will not take up all available space.

The site is also the planned location for the westernmost station in the downtown transit tunnel, while Albert and Slater streets currently house a stretch of the Transitway.

Clubb said the city needs a new central library, as the current one is too small and has structural problems. She said the current central location is the most visited institution in the National Capital Region.

Harder noted that the new location will not open for at least five years, and that the cost of the building is currently budgeted at $181 million. The cost is to be shared by the city, the Friends of the Ottawa Library and Ottawa Public Library Foundation.

The provincial and federal governments will be asked to help fund the project, added Harder.