Eugene Melnyk is the face of the Ottawa Senators and the new LeBreton Flats development. Jeff Hunt and Bill Greenberg were the faces of the TD Place and Lansdonwe redevelopment. Mayor Jim Watson is the face or LRT in Ottawa.
Who is the face of the new Ottawa Central Library? Who is championing what will be the new centre of learning and culture in Ottawa?
Who are the players in this new library saga?
On what I would call the “City Side” supporting the move out of the downtown are The City of Ottawa Library Board, chaired by Tim Tierney (Beacon Hill Councillor) and Danielle MacDonald, the CEO of the Ottawa Library. New library partner , Library and Archives Canada Chief Librarian and Arcivist is Guy Berthiaume. Councillor Tierney for the most part has been the main voice on the move, Library CEO MacDonald rarely speaks and I have not read that Mr. Berthiaume has spoken publically about moving to the edge of the downtown.
On the “Stay downtown” side I would place Somerset Councillor Catherine McKenney, The Centretown Citizens Community Association (CCCA) and Bookmark the Core. Besides MacKenney, there is no louder voice against the move out of the core. The CCCA has been active, but has acted more as a supporting actor to the Councillor. Emilie Taman from Bookmark the Core is there, but the lead on this team has been Councillor McKenney.
What’s missing is the one, a champion, someone to push this project further with an eye on what this new library will do for the city. In the days before Lansdowne broke ground, during the City Council meetings and the uproar from the Glebe, Hunt and Greenberg were there. Discussion leading up to the the National Capital Commission (NCC) picking him, Melnyk was pushing for his vison for LeBreton Flats, and you can’t think about Ottawa’s new LRT without hearing Jim Watsons’ voice in your head.
A project of this size needs a face and a voice to bring the community together and rally behind what will do for Ottawa what has been in other cities, a new cultural hub of the city. Who will that be? Will it be the architech? Will it be a current local leader? How about a local benefactor that will lend their name to bring an anticipation to the project?
Sadly right now there is no one. It will be the city’s loss if no one steps up and champions what we, as the nations capital, derserve in a new Main Branch for the Ottawa Public Library. If you are up to the task, you can start February 1st, the day after the Ottawa Library Board votes on the recommendations. If you, whoever you are, can’t start Febraury 1st, we can wait until February 8th, the day that City Council votes on the recommendation that is approved by the Library Board.
Hurry up and decide will you? The city is waiting for you, we need you.
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