Brampton Library gets council commitment for new Chinguacousy branch

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Published April 12, 2023 at 12:00 pm

The Brampton Library Chinguacousy branch is set to be evicted to make space for a new med school campus.

Brampton will get a new, upgraded library to replace the soon-to-be-displaced Chinguacousy branch but when that will be is still up in the air.

Brampton City Council unanimously passed a motion on Wednesday (April 12) renewing its commitment to finding a permanent home for the Brampton Library’s Chinguacousy branch.

The city’s largest and busiest library branch is being evicted from the Bramalea Civic Center following a council decision to gift the $48 million building and most of the surrounding land to Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) for a new nursing school.

The library will be relocated to the much smaller Mount Chinguacousy ski chalet, and while the move is only temporary, the decision has caused a backlash from residents, sparking at least two citizen petitions to keep the library at its current home.

Brampton Library Board Chair Jaipaul Massey-Singh took those concerns to council on Wednesday, asking for a resolution to affirm the City’s commitment that the move to the ski chalet is only for the short-term.

Wednesday’s motion reaffirms that commitment, and also includes a pledge to hire a consultant using City funds to find a permanent location for the branch.

“This isn’t about pointing fingers, it is about getting us on the right page so that we can have the best outcome for the city that is possible,” Massey-Singh told council.

Brampton Library CEO Todd Kyle also wrote Mayor Patrick Brown and City Council expressing concerns about the move “without any public consultation and just a few years after many updates and renovations.”

“It’s not a choice between a library and a med school, we want both,” Brown said on Wednesday, adding that “we are very much only looking at an interim location.”

The current Chinguacousy branch has over 30,000 square feet of space, while the ski chalet building is approximately 17,000 square feet. But because the building will be shared with ski operations staff, the library’s footprint will be reduced even further to 14,000 with usable public space as low as 10,000 square feet.

Massey-Sing also told council that Brampton spends far less per capita on its library system and has significantly less space when looking at comparable municipalities.

“We currently spend about 30 per capita on library services, the average nationally is $52.27, so we’re just under half,” Massey-Singh said. “We need to be about double where we were prior to the relocation prior to Chinguacousy…so now we’re almost a third of what we would need to serve the community in a fulsome way.”

The new School of Medicine could start accepting students as soon as 2025 and is set to receive 80 undergraduate seats and some 95 postgraduate positions.

The City said the Civic Centre was chosen for the school because of its proximity to Brampton Civic Hospital and the Peel Memorial Centre, as well as its accessibility to municipal transportation, GO transit and highway systems.

Mohamed Lachemi, TMU’s President and Vice-Chancellor, said in a letter to council that TMU has been “unjustly misrepresented” and that “the library continues to misrepresent the nature of the agreement and the responsibilities therein.”

He said the school’s deal with the City puts responsibility for appropriately informing and relocating Civic Centres tenants impacted by the agreement, including the library.

“We ask that you continue to work to find new places for the Civic Centre tenants and that, to avoid misinformation and damage to the university’s reputation, the city clarifies that, as per our agreement, this responsibility belongs to the council and not the university,” Lachemi said in a letter to council.

Brampton residents have launched multiple petitions to keep the branch in its current location. Massey-Singh said those petitions are unsolicited and not associated with the Brampton Library or the library board.

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