Guelph City Council was flying the new main library flag during budget deliberations on Thursday.
Council voted to move $1.9 million already set aside in the 2019 budget for the new main library design up to 2018 if – and only if – council approves the business case for the new main branch that is being worked on and scheduled to come before them in early 2018.
The move to potentially bump up the timeline for the next stage in funding came during approval of the non-tax supported and capital budgets.
The idea behind the move, initiated by Coun. Cathy Downer, is that if the business case is approved, the money would then be readily available for the detailed design work to move forward without it being delayed.
Downer and others feared that given that next year is an election year, meaning the 2019 budget – and potentially the funds for the design of a new library – would likely be delayed by several months.
“It identifies that the work can move on,” said Downer.
“There’s a big time lapse between those votes (on the business plan) and when council meets again for budgeting,” she added.
Council has already determined that a new main branch will be part of any Baker Street redevelopment.
“I think the intent of the motion is to give comfort to people,” Coun. Karl Wettstein, who voted against the motion because he felt it inappropriate to be making a commitment to funds without committing to the business case first.
Councillors Mark MacKinnon and Christine Billings also voted against the motion.