Library expansion deal met with negative review

In the wake of town council selling the municipal side of the town’s administration building to the Rimbey Library Board for $1

In the wake of town council selling the municipal side of the town’s administration building to the Rimbey Library Board for $1, there was an attempt made last week to try and persuade council that this course of action isn’t necessary and the library doesn’t need more space.

“I want you all to realize I’m not against the library,” Rueben Geibelhaus told council at its Feb. 11 meeting. However, Geibelhaus is against the council’s decided course of action and the expansion of the library.

Geibelhaus feels the library needs to expand only because it’s being used more as an entertainment centre. He was steadfastly against events such as pizza parties for children being held in the library. “We’re a babysitting service. In my opinion this should not be a taxpayer’s expense.”

He also feels children already being looked after in private babysitting businesses shouldn’t be in the library while in the care of that babysitter because they’re already being looked after.

“I think everyone should be welcome at the library. These caregivers should be commended for introducing the children to this culture,” countered Coun. Gayle Rondeel.

Geibelhaus feels, rather than the town’s administration relocating to the provincial building, the administration building should be added on to, even if that means building up.

Renting the provincial building would be “money down the drain,” said Geibelhaus.

He told council that with the agreement made with the library board they’d have the right to buy back the building for the same price if the board decided to sell. “This sounds nice on the surface,” he added.

However, he warned council that if the government ever put a lien on the building then buying it back would put the town in debt on the building.

Geibelhaus has told by town CAO Tony Goode and Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson that the cost to stay where they are is $35,000 per year. With the lease rate, maintenance and the janitorial duties being included at the provincial building, the cost is approximately the same.

“The library provides a wonderful service and if it expands it will provide more of that service. So I think this is a good thing,” said Ibbotson.

“We’re moving to the provincial building,” added Coun. Paul Payson. “Your tax dollars are already paying for that empty space.

Geibelhaus feels all decisions should be tabled until later and that a public forum needs to be held. He believes town council is lacking transparency when it comes to this matter. “This was sprung on pretty fast.”

The library board requested the expansion and town council debated moving to the provincial building in August of last year. It was reported in the Rimbey Review in the Aug. 28 issue.