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Christmas deadline for library partnership deal

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Nov 10/06) - Combining Inuvik's new super school with the community's Centennial Library is meeting with resistance despite the education council's best efforts to push the plan forward.

Beaufort-Delta Education Council representatives made their case to town council on Monday night about partnering for a new library site in the proposed twin school.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Barry Ward, left, of Public Works, joined Beaufort Delta Education Council superintendent Dennis Parsons for a presentation to town council about combining the Centennial Library with the proposed "super school". - Dez Loreen/NNSL photo

Dennis Parsons, education council superintendent, told town council that it would be a good idea to combine the existing Centennial Library with the new school.

"This is a rare opportunity for the town," said Parsons.

The idea of combining the libraries was brought to the old council in May of 2005.

It was after their original presentation that council decided to decline their offer of a partnership.

Councillor Clarence Wood said he stands by the decision made by council last year.

"We declined their proposal for good reason last year," he said.

Wood added that some of the library's current resources, like the Dick Hill collection, might not have been donated if the library was in a school.

There are still no details about the inside of the proposed library, but a base floor plan was presented on Monday night.

"We are at a stage where a decision needs to be made about the library," said Barry Ward, facilities manager with the territorial public works and services department.

"We need a commitment before Christmas."

Ward said the building planners will meet again in Jan. 2007.

"The project could be 2.5 or 3 million dollars, depending on size and what goes in the library," said Ward.

Mayor Derek Lindsay said he was unsure about spending the money on the project.

"We are leery about spending capital money at this time," he explained.

Peggy Jay and Vicki Boudreau, of the Centennial Library board, were also on hand to voice their concerns about the proposed merger.

"We are still against the joining of the two libraries," said Jay.

Jay referred to a letter sent by the library board to the town dated June 17, 2005.

The letter outlined their concerns with combining the libraries.

"The schools are the ones who would really benefit, not us," said Jay.

She pointed out that both schools have reduced their libraries through staffing, or for space.

"We already have a great central location," added Jay.

"If we moved the library into the school, it would cut out part of the community."

Boudreau, who has been a librarian for the past ten years, said the choice to combine the two facilities would be a mistake.

"There are a number of pitfalls in this deal. We want a decision from the town council on this matter," said Boudreau.

"I don't think this community needs another monument."

The library board said they do not want to deal with this project any more, and demanded a response from council on the matter.

Council has yet to reach a decision.