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New central library moves ahead despite LeBreton Flats issues

Ottawa's mayor said there will be no changes made to the location of the nearly $200-million project.
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With the LeBreton Flats redevelopment project facing some issues, the city says the recent developments will have no impact on the central branch of the Ottawa Public Library. 

The nearly $200 million mega-library will be built at 555 Albert Street with Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects tapped to design the building, right across from the redevelopment at LeBreton Flats. 

Mayor Jim Watson explained to reporters on Wednesday that when it comes to the location, there's no going back. 

"Council's made a decision, we have a signed agreement with the federal government and we have a site chosen," he said. "My view is, we can't go back to the good old days where we dither and flip flop, time and time again."

The new central library marks a partnership between the city and the federal government and will include Library and Archives Canada. 

Watson said that he understands there are three projects in the works in the same area, but that it doesn't matter which one gets shovels in the ground first. 

"I think the library, whether it's the first one with the shovel in the ground or it's the Claridge apartments and condos that will be the first in the ground or it will be the LeBreton revitalization, someone has to go first," Watson explained. "If we're the first off the mark, good for us. I think it's going to be an exciting project." 

Across the way at LeBreton Flats, the NCC has given the partners in the RendezVous LeBreton group until January to get it together or they will have to move on with the project with someone else. 

That someone else could be the Devcore Canderel DLS Group (DCDLS), who recently offered to step back in and take over the project after losing their bid back in 2016. 

Mayor Jim Watson said he has not spoken to anyone from the opposing bidder. 

"Until, really, the NCC makes that next step, determining what is going to happen at LeBreton, I don't think it would be appropriate for me to meet with that group at this time."


Jenn Pritchard

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