One of the most talked about divisive issues of this election has been the (lack of) construction on the new library and follow-on Baker Street redevelopment at the north end of downtown. The project was put in turnaround (to use Hollywood parlance) last year in the face of the then pending budget crunch. Now, Ward 4 candidate Steven Petric has a modest proposal: we can get it all now.
"The idea is to combine the Library with retail, along with a residential condominium tower(s) and a (large) underground parking lot on the Baker Street Library/Parking lot site," says Petric in a post on his campaign website. "Simply put, we will achive 4 major items all at once instead of bits and pieces over a longer period of time."
Key to the plan is our city following the example set by projects already done in B.C. and Toronto and creating an agreement on division of labour on the project between public and private developers. "By having a private developer build residential on top and around the library, we get needed tax and developer revenues to help pay for things like the Library," explains Petric. 'By having a private and public split on building the parking lot, we get the needed Baker Street parking and the developer gets its spots for those purchasing a condo as well as for the retail that will line the streetscape."
You can read Petric's full post here. So what say you voting public? Does Petric's proposal make sense? Is it the ideal way to get this project to move forward sooner rather than later? Let us know in the comments section.