Gas station new location of Bay public library?

Council explains why township purchased property along County Road 62

Staff Reporter

Council explains why township purchased property along County Road 62

Staff Reporter

BARRY’S BAY – A former gas station located along County Road 62 now belongs to the Township of Madawaska Valley, and the community is wondering just what the township plans to use it for.

The Gazette posed the question to council at the January 24 meeting.
While councillors insist that the property has not been earmarked for anything, they admit that there were some projects on the back of their minds when the property was purchased.

The land originally belonged to Anna Etmanski, who operated a gas station for many years. It is located behind the municipal office.

Councillor Sylvie Yantha said there was a lot of discussion before the township purchased the property.

“I said, there was a possibility – we just have possibilities – that it could be a future site for a new library, for one, or it could be even a future site for an extension of the town hall,” Yantha said. “That’s the plan.”

But there seemed to be some confusion amongst council.

“It is the plan?” Councillor Shaun O’Reilly asked, adding that he has heard that the building is earmarked for a new library. “Have we designated that property as a new library?”

But his fellow council members responded with a unanimous ‘no.’ Councillor Linda Neuman sits on the library board as a council representative.

“No, we haven’t designated it, but it is a possibility,” Neuman responded.
O’Reilly then suggested that the property could really be used for anything, like a future curling rink.

“Not exactly,” Yantha said. “We are not in the curling rink business. And we are not willing to sell it to a curling rink. It’s going to be for our use only.”
O’Reilly then asked if the township would be willing to sell the piece of property to a business like Tim Horton’s.

“Absolutely not,” Yantha said. “Tim Horton’s were talked to a month before we got [the property.] Tim Horton’s didn’t want any part of it.”

“If we think that’s pigeon-hold for a library, we should tell the public right now,” O’Reilly said. “If we are going to have that discussion we should have it now, and we should bring the public in, instead a question like this coming out of the press, which is a valid question. But we have sat on it, and I think the expectations are that it is a library, yet nobody has ever made a decision.”

Neuman said the board has been asking about the property, but it is continuing to investigate its options.

O’Reilly said if the library wants the land, members should send a letter to council addressing their wishes for the township.

“There is a group moving towards it,” O’Reilly said. “It’s just a matter of making that decision if you are going to earmark it. The problem is if you are going to earmark it, I don’t think we would do it in six months. There would be some studies done whether they are doing it. What does a new library encompass? Does it encompass new council chambers – not administrative offices – but maybe it encompasses new council chambers. Maybe it doesn’t.”

The conversation eventually shifted to what the library board is doing to plan for a new facility.

Last year, Councillor Neuman announced on behalf of the board that the library is looking to relocate. The current facility does not meet accessible laws and renovating the existing building – which is already bursting at its seams – will prove too costly.
Moving seems the only option.

Story continues in the January 26 issue of The Valley Gazette.