Grey Highlands Library board concerned about land sale proposal

·2 min read

The Grey Highlands Library Board is concerned the potential sale of municipal lands in Markdale may hinder future expansion plans.

Library board member Stewart Halliday and CEO Jennifer Murley spoke to Grey Highlands council about the issue at its regular meeting on June 1. Halliday and Murley expressed the library board’s concerns about the possible sale of a portion of King Edward Park in Markdale.

The library is immediately adjacent to the parklands. Grey Highlands council recently received a request from a private landowner to purchase a portion of the park.

A proposal has come forward for 31 Walker Street to allow a micro-brewery, restaurant and apartments on the property. The municipal land would be required for parking.

Halliday, a former deputy mayor, told council the Walter Harris Library in Markdale will soon need to expand and the municipal land may be required.

“We believe the library needs to be expanded in the future and we want to work with council on a plan,” said Halliday.

Library Board Chair Kevin Land was unable to attend the meeting, but provided a detailed letter to council expressing the board’s position.

“Keeping this area open provides planning flexibility until a community-approved concept is approved,” Land said in the letter. “We feel there are a variety of scenarios for this area that would appeal to all interested parties without sacrificing their objectives and would welcome the opportunity to be part of the process.”

CEO Murley told council the Markdale branch is the busiest in the Grey Highlands library system and with the growth of 1,000 homes expected in the future, expansion will soon be a necessity.

“We’re anxious to collaborate on a plan for the future of this facility,” said Murley. “The library’s vision is to focus on growing and sustaining our role as cultural leaders in Grey Highlands. Land flexibility is required.”

Coun. Dane Nielsen thanked the board representatives for coming forward with details and suggestions and comments rather than a “blanket no.”

Council received the report from the board, but did not make any decisions.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

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