Melfort council pre-approves $85,000 for Melfort Library repairs

·2 min read

Melfort council has pre-approved $85,000 from the 2022 capital budget for the repair of the most damaged portion of the library roof while the city explores the future of the library.

The Melfort Public Library roof, now 47 years old, has had its repair listed on the city’s capital budgets since 2016. The city has previously designated $200,000 in the 2022 capital budget for the repair, which has been identified as a priority due to continual damage of the roof, which is expected to continue to compromise the structure of the building.

In 2022 the library is slated for a feasibility study and needs assessment which will determine if the library will stay at the site, or move to a different building, with one option in discussion being the Historic Melfort Post Office.

Brent Lutz, Melfort’s director of development, planning and community relations, said that even if the library is moved, the upgrades are still useful as the city intends to continue using the municipal building as an asset.

“The library now is one of our older civic facilities in comparison to let’s say the Northern Lights Palace, City Hall or the Kerry Vickar Centre,” Lutz said. “It’s time to consider what the future plans will be for the library and is the existing building still suitable for its continued use? Can the building’s life be extended to meet the needs?”

In a report to council, city administration noted that the water is causing damage to the wall and flooring along with mould and humidity, which could compromise both air quality and the condition of books in the library.

“Mitigating the damage being caused by the damage is the priority here right now before decisions are made on the final decision for the building,” Lutz said.

Rene Chambers, Melfort’s branch librarian, said the roof has been an ongoing issue that has resulted in “many” books being lost to water damage. In response, the library fastened tarps to the top of the book shelves most impacted and buckets on the floor beside to collect the water.

“As you know, books and water don’t really mix,” Chambers said. “Just the worry that anytime it rains or there was thawing and freezing that it would leak, so you would have to protect the materials.”

Now approved, the city can move to repair and complete the work as soon as possible as work on the roof may be completed in the winter months.

“We’re looking forward to having this issue resolved and we appreciate that they’re doing that,” Chambers said.

Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal

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