My Position on the Waterdown Library
Waterdown needs the Waterdown Library in the Core
On January 22nd, I officially registered to run in this year’s municipal election to be your Councillor for Flamborough Ward 15 in the City of Hamilton. Many are asking me to meet with their groups to discuss community planning issues, including the new Waterdown Library plans.
First off let me express my regards and personal thanks to the Hamilton Library for support of the Flamborough community to ensure that our citizens have first class library service. We can all agree that the Waterdown Library needs to be relocated from the existing building and that the preferred is a new Library similar to the one floor plan at Turner Park. We are asking that the Library stay located on a bus route, in the core area alongside other supporting facilities and accessible to the new 3,000 home developments along Parkside Drive East and West ends. A local resident, award winning architect Trevor Garwood Jones has visited the Flamborough Municipal Centre and Memorial Park, his report is attached supporting Memorial Park as a preferred location.
Part of Hamilton’s mandate for community development is to create safe walkable communities, building on nodes and corridors which will get people out of their cars and onto sidewalks or public transit. Locating a library on a 5 lane busy highway thoroughfare just doesn’t fit with the city’s direction.
Flamborough Municipal Centre
The current Library plan is determined to locate the new Library on Hwy #5 East. The plan is to tear down the existing Flamborough Municipal Service (former Town Hall) building located on Dundas Street East a perfectly solid building paid for by your tax dollars 25 years ago. This Hwy #5 location, which is a very busy, unsafe 5 lane highway, is also far away from any other community facility, no schools nearby, no access from surrounding neighbourhoods, treacherous sidewalks, and not walkable or safely accessible to anyone riding a bicycle or the majority of people living in Waterdown. The majority of the new growths in the East and West ends of Waterdown are off Parkside Drive. Approx. 6,500 new homes will be built, mostly in East Waterdown between Hwy #5 and Mountain Brow on the south and Hwy #5 and Parkside Drive to the north.
We need to build the new library on Parkside Drive in the core. Moving it out of the core just doesn’t make sense. The core of any community needs to have community hub infrastructure activity that brings all resources together and includes a library, which would then be a catalyst to attracting other community resources. It brings people into the core, which supports local business, creates jobs and provides economic growth with prosperity.
There is also a shortage of, and growing need for professional office space in Waterdown. A local organization CHOICES, needs to expand it’s services and move all admin staff out of their existing building to allow for more program space needed. The Board of Directors for this organization would like to take over the Flamborough Municipal Service Centre space as soon as possible within the next year. They have the funding and are prepared to start discussions with the city to take over all the costs of maintenance/operations. CHOICES is a respected organization with a 30 year history of sustainability. It provides programs and services throughout the city of Hamilton to our most vulnerable adults with developmental disabilities.
Memorial Park ~ Waterdown Memorial Library
This letter is in support of the Memorial Park location as the best place to locate the new Waterdown Library and to make it a legacy project for the Hamilton Library, the City of Hamilton and the people of Flamborough.
It is also supported by a letter (attached) by Trevor Garwood Jones, a highly respected first class renowned Architect, who is also a resident of Waterdown and knows the community and its history well. We all understand that important projects can happen with the right political will to do what is best for all our unique communities. We are asking the Hamilton Library Board to be open to these discussions – we do understand the Libraries deadlines, we do understand there are issues to overcome – we are asking for the opportunity to start that dialogue.
Memorial Park in the core of Waterdown is home to a skatepark, ball diamonds, new pavilion, children’s play ground and a huge open area that is underutilized. The Park is underutilized, a hodgepodge design/layout with disconnected elements and currently not the beautiful jewel that our Veterans left to us. A new Library would give the park a focus point and become a legacy for all of us.
Benefits: Parkside Drive is a bus route which is accessible to the 3,000 new homes being built on either side of Parkside at the east and west ends of Waterdown.Directly across the road on Parkside Drive and Hamilton (north side) a new Youth Centre is scheduled to be built. Within a two block walking distance there are two elementary schools, Waterdown Highschool, the YMCA, a seniors residence, the Waterdown Legion, two low income residents buildings, a shopping plaza, Tim Horton’s etc. Building the new Library here would make it a true community hub. Students of all ages are within a one block walking distance from Memorial Park and near many restaurants social outlets. There is nothing on Hwy #5 Flamborough Municipal Centre that would entice students to go there.
There could also be a Veterans War Memorial built beside the new Library which could be named the Waterdown Memorial Library. Having the Library here would draw families and make the skatepark and playgrounds much safer. Extra parking needed for the library would be easily accommodated and welcome by the outlying community who would visit the Library and improved park amenities. Just having a Library at the park will make the park feel safer and more user friendly to young families, students and seniors.
In the Report to the Waterdown Community sent earlier this month, also stated Memorial Park is a good location.
“Memorial Park – Several people, understanding the Library Board’s lack of funds to buy property, suggested that the Library Board consider building in Memorial Park.” “Board Response: In many ways, Memorial Park is a good location.”
Replacing Park Land
We understand there is a provision which stipulates, to build on park land you need to replace it in another location. Mary Hopkins school is located across from the furthest south east tip of Memorial Park on Main St. North. A new school to replace Mary Hopkins will be built in the east Waterdown new development by 2012. The HWDSB through John Laverty has indicated a willingness to discuss possible community use of the old school which sits on 4 acres of mostly open land. With political will and perhaps legacy project funding from the proposed Flamborough Community Fund or Hamilton Future Fund, some of this land could become park land to replace Memorial Park – again creating another legacy for the people of Waterdown. All we respectfully ask is that there be a willingness to have an open discussion.