I followed with great interest the discussion on funding for community enhancement grants. I can’t state strongly enough how I am against the reduction in library funding.
Some comments made seem to be uninformed and ill-researched. I quote: “The library is the one organization on that list that could best reduce hours and services and still remain in business”.
Councillor [Wade] Niesh, you ran for council on a platform of making Prince Rupert open for business, however you have stated that reducing hours and services are OK for the library. This appears to be a contradiction.
I quote: “The library could access monies from other sources.” I wonder what/who these other potential resources are?
I wonder if the author of the first quote ever uses the library and is aware of all its functions in the community? Some of which are: books in many formats, magazines, CDs, DVDs, large print collection, newspapers, free open space for families and school children which promotes exposure to learning, children’s programs, outreach services for shut-ins, the elderly and lighthouse keepers, free Internet access and help with electronic devices, public use computers, aid with job search, resume writing and cover letters, tourist information, newspaper archives of 100+ years, genealogy research support, scanning, printing and copying, loan services and offering multi-purpose rooms for meetings and gatherings.
It seems that if we have the money to replace perfectly good sidewalks on Third Avenue (Legacy Fund or not), then $66,000 is something we can afford for a major hallmark institution which has been in the city for 106 years.
I agree with the statements by Councillors Gurvinder Randhawa and Barry Cunningham about dipping into OUR Legacy Fund for this purpose.
Who and when was it decided that the Legacy Fund should be used only for planning major projects? It appears that some of this money has already gone to general operations, i.e. salary increases for front line staff who certainly deserve raises before they are hired into more lucrative careers. Perhaps more transparency and openness is needed with the legacy fund as to how many dollars we are talking about and what its intended function/use is and perhaps some consultation with the citizens of Prince Rupert is in order.
In summation, I implore council to do the right thing and revisit the discussion and motion regarding the library funding.