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A million dollars to renovate library branch
The cost to renovate the space currently occupied by Coquitlam Public Library's City Centre branch after it moves this fall has prompted a catalogue of complaints from city council.
On Monday, council-in-committee voiced its dismay over the $1-million price tag to remodel the 11,000 sq. ft. ground-floor area. According to the plans, an interdepartmental committee and a workspace planning consultant are recommending the following changes:
• relocating city engineering and public works staff to the library, with 2,200 sq. ft. to be temporarily used by the RCMP and, later, city archives;
• combining community planning with the planning and development services department on the first floor;
• and placing parks and recreation staff currently working out of 640 Poirier St. and the Innovation Centre (next to Evergreen Cultural Centre) in the former community planning offices.
Deputy city manager John DuMont told councillors 10 RCMP forensic identification section members and dog handlers will move into the old library to ease pressure at the detachment, which is also crammed. In five years, when B.C. Mounties build a new headquarters for integrated members in Surrey, they would relocate there.
Kathy Reinheimer, Coquitlam's manager of parks and facilities, told council-in-committee that some areas of city hall, which was built in 1998, are bursting: Storage rooms have been turned into cubicles and cabinets are in the hallways.
"Pathways are more crowded now," she said.
As for the Innovation Centre and 640 Poirier St. (the green building located across from the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex), the city would rent out those vacant offices, although Reinheimer said 640 Poirier is nearing the end of its life cycle.
Reinheimer defended the renovation project to councillors, saying the current library space will need structural, mechanical and electrical upgrades as well as fit-and-finish improvements. She anticipates the total cost to be "significantly lower" than what council budgeted in this year's financial plan.
Still, the $90-per-square-foot estimate didn't sit well with some councillors.
"I find that excessive, very excessive," said Coun. Mae Reid, who also noted she would have preferred the planning and engineering departments to be combined.
Added Coun. Selina Robinson: "We have to be frugal and pay close attention to make [the old library space] workable rather than state-of-the art."
The new library branch is expected to open by early October at 1169 Pinetree Way, about a block from its current location, next to Henderson Place mall.