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Exploring new options for the Zephyr Library


DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard

UXBRIDGE: Citing rising operating costs, as well as limited options for accessibility improvements or expansion, councillors were recently presented with a plan to relocate the Zephyr library from its existing building to a new, dedicated space at the Zephyr Community Hall.

A report from, Director of Community Services, Amanda Ferraro, included outlining the specifics of the move along with some concept drawings of the renovated space for the library at the hall.

According to her report, staff began their research into this move in 2021, and have estimated the township could save approximately $25,000 annually with reduced operational costs. Township staff have projected a budget of approximately $260,000, to complete the renovation of the hall, to accommodate the library.

Ms. Ferraro cited a number of potential improvements for community safety, amenities, and access to the library.

“The Library will create a community hub which includes: access to the children's outdoor playground, the covered pavilion, washrooms for public use, and a brighter location with much improved natural lighting which has been capitalized on in the plans,” Ms. Ferraro said in her report. “Given the additional indoor space, there is great potential for increased library/community programs and events in the future. The parking at the hall is safer for families, as it is farther away from the road and has some fencing to prevent accidental crossings.”

The proposed renovations would see the library take over the old kitchen space, the small meeting room, and a small portion of the large hall. While the main section of the hall would shrink slightly, from approximately 2,900 square feet to 2,500 square feet. Both spaces could function independently, so current or future hall rentals will not be affected.

At a recent meeting, the township’s library board unanimously supported the move being referred to upcoming municipal budget discussions and asked the concept drawings be forwarded to council and their request include public engagement with the community about this possible consolidation of facilities.

In her comments to council, Ms. Ferraro noted, the next step in this process would be to engage with the Zephyr community and gather feedback from the public as well as the board of the Zephyr Community Hall.

“Public engagement is what we’re looking for here,” explained Ms. Ferraro. “Now we know this is possible and have a visual aid, to see if this is something the community is interested in.”

Regional Councillor, Bruce Garrod noted, the importance of community engagement, claiming he “didn’t want Facebook posts saying the Zephyr library is closing.” He also inquired about the future possibilities for the existing building.

“The message out there should be that we’re not closing the Zephyr Library. (It) will be maintained and be a benefit to the community,” added Ms. Ferraro, noting the size of the current library building and lack of accessible amenities would limit potential future uses. “We would investigate all options, and the old building is something we could look at declaring surplus and sell.”

Ward 5 Councillor, Todd Snooks motioned the recommendations outlined by Ms. Ferraro for community engagement, and commented, he was “pleased this is going to the residents of Zephyr to engage in a community conversation.”

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