© Ashley Thompson
The severe decline in membership has led to the closure of the Lucknow Branch 109 of the Royal Canadian Legion.
A committee established to find a new location for the Hantsport Public Library is zeroing in on the former legion building.
In July, town council unanimously voted in favour of having the library removed from the Hantsport School by September 2015. From there, a joint library committee was formed to explore future options for the library once it is moved out of the school.
“The library could not remain there unless the town agreed to pay $170,000 to keep it in there and continue paying maintenance costs for the space used by the library,” said deputy mayor Harold Bulger, in presenting a report submitted by the library group at a committee of the whole meeting Dec. 17.
The town owned the school when it was built in 1960, and space was designated for the public library within the building, Bulger said.
Times have changed and, Bulger said, serious limitations are now placed on the public library’s open hours due to its location within a school.
The Annapolis Valley Regional School Board prompted council to decide if the public library would remain in the school earlier this year, before significant renovations were underway.
The library committee concluded that there were four options to consider moving forward: building a community complex to host the library and other services, establish a new library in the retired book mobile bus, establish a stand alone library in a new or existing building or ask citizens to go online or travel to Wolfville and Windsor for library services.
The committee concluded that the legion building would be the best option considering the town’s strained financial situation.
The host municipality must pay for the building a library is in, and foot the bills for maintenance, heat and lights.
Bulger said the former home of the Lucknow Branch No. 109 is structurally sound, situated in an ideal location near the town hall on Main Street and spacious enough to house a library.
The estimated costs of turning the old legion into a library would be: $4,000 to install a fresh air ventilator, $8,500 to build a barrier free washroom and smaller restroom with a sink and toilet, $9,500 to install an accessibility ramp for the upper level, $21,000 for a hydraulic lift for access to the upper floor, and roughly $24,000 for shelving and furniture, Bulger noted.
He said the library committee intends to invite neighbouring municipalities to support the project, and a fundraising campaign will be launched if council votes in favour of the library moving into the proposed location.
“The beauty about the legion building is that we could get the library going and we could work on the rest of it as the monies becomes available,” Bulger said.
Hantsport Mayor Robbie Zwicker suggested the subject be placed on the agenda for further discussion at the council meeting in January to give the town’s elected officials more time to consider the proposal.