MLA defends stance on Rimbey library

As a former member of town council I approached the librarian with a suggestion and offered a solution on how and where the library

Dear Editor:

As a former member of town council I approached the librarian with a suggestion and offered a solution on how and where the library could expand. As the MLA for this constituency I attended a town council meeting and provided them with the same suggestion on how the library could expand. I followed this meeting up with a letter to council, and I asked them to pass a motion in support of my recommendation. I did this all in conjunction with my efforts to secure a new senior’s lodge.

For anyone to accuse me of being unsupportive of the library, nothing can be further from the truth. Allegations and personal attacks are not constructive. However, my support for the library does not diminish my criticism of this council’s hasty decision to relocate the town’s office, and it does not lessen my concern over the library’s reasoning: absent of a business case. The library just can’t claim it needs to expand without at least submitting some evidence to that effect. It can’t claim to have evaluated other potential options without submitting evidence to that effect. To this date no one has submitted any documentation evaluating the economics of multiple options.

Expanding the library at its current location will require the town offices to relocate. Both the library and town would need to renovate office space at a cost greater than one hundred thousand dollars. Where are the funds coming from? If just the library relocated, the town would not need to spend funds to renovate. This one option could possibly save a considerable amount of taxpayer dollars. This is just one possible option that needs to be considered. There is a lot more that needs to be considered and evaluated before a decision is made.

I am not making a pitch for what is right or wrong. Maybe my earlier recommendation is not the best economic option. There might be better options yet. But, I would hope someone would at least provide some documentation in the form of an economic analysis to support or reject an option to expand. To make an informed decision on what is best, the library board needs to submit a business case to council with some form of cost benefit analysis comparing multiple options.

The process to compare and evaluate those options should be open to public and the public should be asked to participate. In my view it is incumbent upon the library board to make this case to council. It is also incumbent upon the town council to be fully engaged. That includes attending all the library board meetings. There is always a legitimate reason for a single member of council to miss a meeting but there is no reason for council not to be represented at a library board meeting.

I understand this issue has become emotionally charged, but it’s doesn’t have to be. There is no need for a petition to force a referendum in an election year if council steps up and creates a public process to evaluate the best possible option. If the current decision is the correct choice, prove it: and let it be so. I think people would accept it.

In closing, there is no reason to engage in personal attacks. Critics can disagree and not be so disagreeable. One constituent refers to all us politicians as post turtles. If you don’t know what a post turtle is, it is actually quite simple. Drive down any gravel road and keep your eyes focused on the fence line. When you see a turtle perched on top of a fence post – that’s a post turtle.

Confused? Keep in mind the turtle didn’t get up on the fence post by himself. He doesn’t belong up there. He doesn’t know what to do while he is up there. He has been elevated beyond his ability to function and you have to wonder what kind of person would put him up there to begin with.

My vitriolic critics might be better served if they first understood the facts and then applied their energies to offer up some solutions.

Joe Anglin,

MLA Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre