Developer Pitches New Public Library Branch as Part of Hamilton West Harbour Pier 8 Bid

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Rick Cordeiro

The Marine Discovery Centre at Hamilton's Pier 8 West Harbour waterfront

Hamilton’s Chief Librarian says the Urban Capital / Core Urban Inc bidding group for Hamilton’s Pier 8 development is seeking to enter a public-private partnership to build a new library branch on Hamilton’s waterfront.

Urban Capital/Core Urban is one of five developer groups shortlisted to bid on purchasing the Pier 8 lands from the City. Urban Capital/Core Urban Inc is seeking to include a library branch as part of their bid for the project. Final bid proposals are due to the City of Hamilton this month.

Paul Takala writes, in a letter dated March 2nd released this afternoon, the Library administration is interested in discussing the idea of a Pier 8 branch.

“We appreciate Urban Core Inc. [sic] & Urban Capital’s vision and commitment to creating such public spaces” Takala writes. “I am therefore pleased to extend a non-exclusive Expression of Interest in locating a public library as part of the Pier 8 development.”

Takala writes before the Library can make a formal commitment, an ongoing independent evaluate of city-wide library needs to be completed. The report is expected in Q2 2018.

The opening of a North End waterfront library branch will require operating funding from City Council. Takala writes the Library “welcomes the opportunity to work with developers to create a public private partnership to assist with initial funding of a library building, however, we need to ensure we are able to secure sustainable sufficient operational funds for the library.”

Takala’s letter outlines the requirements for a library branch, stating “we think it is important that the public library and other public amenities located at Pier 8
not only serve the new residents of condo developments but also serve adjacent neighbourhoods in the North End and help make the Waterfront a destination for people from all across Hamilton and beyond”.

The letter was released Friday afternoon as part of the Hamilton Public Library Board agenda package. The Library Board will discuss the developers request as part of their monthly meeting on Wednesday March 21. The meeting begins at 6pm on the fifth floor of the Central Library branch and is open to the public. The Library Board streams their meetings at: http://www.hpl.ca/livestream

The Hamilton Public Library’s former North End branch at 502 James Street North was closed in June 2009.

There is a growing public campaign for the City of Hamilton to not sell the Discovery Centre building on Pier 8; with numerous people calling 0n Ward 2 City Councillor Jason Farr to stop the sale until public consultation occurs. Ideas for the Discovery Centre building include a library branch combining a civic museum and the Hamilton Public Library’s local history department.

A public meeting on the future of the Discovery Centre is scheduled for Thursday, March 29th, 7:00 pm at 294 James St N.

The City’s plans for the Pier 8 lands is presently subject to three appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board. Our story on the OMB prehearing is here: OMB Will Review Council’s Potential Conflict on Pier 8 as Both Approving Authority and Land Seller


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistakenly repeated the error in the HPL letter. The developer group is Urban Capital and Core Urban Inc, not Urban Core Inc as earlier stated. The Public Record regrets the error.

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