Council acknowledges library board’s future funding request

The funding request could be presented to council within the next five years.

Chestermere City Council has agreed to review a request from the Chestermere Public Library Board to cover the cost of flooring, paint, and moving the play space if a new library space is established within the next five years.

During the July 19 council meeting, the library board sent a letter to council asking for the city to cover the cost of flooring and painting required to transport the play space, if a new library facility is established.

“We’re not committing to it, we’re going to review the request, so it doesn’t get lost,” said councillor Shannon Dean.

“By accepting for information all we’re doing is acknowledging they have made the request,” councillor Blaine Funk said.

The library board’s letter explained that the play space is an interim strategy used to support an aging library space and show that play is an essential activity for the health of children.

The library board invested in the construction of the play space which includes learning games and play equipment.

“The City of Chestermere Library Board would like to advocate that the Chestermere Public Library needs a newer and larger library space soon, and if this were to occur within five years, that the City of Chestermere covers the cost of the flooring and painting required to transport this play space,” the board’s letter said. “The library board has invested in the cost of the play items, and all these items could be moved.”

Councillor Stephen Hanley explained that the city doesn’t have an estimate for the paint, or floor, or when the funding request will come, and without a budget, council can’t commit to a request potentially five years away.

However, accepting the letter’s request as information is an acknowledgment that council has heard the board’s request.

“We’ve all made a commitment to the library as a whole that we would look at any and all requests for funding at any point in time. For us to say we’re going to accept to review the request seems redundant,” Funk said.

“For me, what it does is it further shows this council’s commitment to our library,” Dean said.

“That opens us up to any group sending a letter and us having it open on our action item list that at some point in the future they are going to ask for money which we would review at the time,” Funk said. “I’m worried that every single group we deal with is going to send a letter saying at some point in the future we’re going to need money. We’ll always review it, I’m not saying we won’t review it, it seems like something we would be on board with, but every single group could do this to us.”

Legislative Advisor Jerry Gautreau explained that accepting the request for review could impact future councils.

“It could be tying the hands of the future council to commit them. They might not have your wish,” Gautreau said.

He suggested that going forward, councillors on the library board can ensure city administration continues to be involved and encourage the board to submit another letter when they are ready to make a funding request.

“The city can’t commit anything without a budget and a resolution of council for any money being moved,” Gautreau said.

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