A proposed $67-million library for Guelph’s Baker District development will not receive any funding from upper levels of government, according to Mayor Cam Guthrie.
“It’s disappointing,” the mayor tweeted on Monday night.
He said the additional funding would have helped offset property tax increases and a levy to help pay for the new main branch of the Guelph Public Library.
City council approved the project and its cost in September 2019. It also approved an additional 0.86 per cent to be added to property taxes.
The hike would have been phased in over three years and then be in place for as long as 20 years, according to a staff report. But during budget deliberations later that year, council voted to delay imposing that levy until 2021.
At the time, the hope was that funding from upper levels of government would come through and staff applied for $36.6 million in the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
In another tweet on Monday, Guthrie said the program was heavily competitive and the various funding requests equalled 10 times more than what was allocated for the program.
“(It) just didn’t make the cut,” he said.
The future of the project is now up in the air, given that its lofty price would now fall mostly on Guelph’s taxpayers.
#Guelph has officially found out we’re getting $0 dollars towards the $67 million library. Although I didn’t vote for this price tag originally, it’s disappointing. Upper level of government money would’ve helped offset property tax & levy burden to pay for it. But here we are. pic.twitter.com/5h9mjZZ8SK
— Mayor Cam Guthrie (@CamGuthrie) August 17, 2020
The library is anticipated to be the centrepiece of Guelph’s new Baker District development, which will also feature commercial and residential spaces, along with underground parking.
City staff are expected to provide an update on the library project in October.
“That will be a pivotal moment for council,” Guthrie said.
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