Tuesday , 6 June 2023
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Library plans for Discovery Centre deferred for more consultation

A plan to have the Hamilton Public Library take the lead on developing a community-use  plan for the Discovery centre has been put on hold pending a public consultation process that will involve greater consultation with the indigenous community. Representatives of the Hamilton Public Library were on hand at the Waterfront Development Subcommittee to present their vision for the building, which  would include a library branch, but also what was termed an indigenous gathering space. Of the latter space the Library presentation noted, “the nature and composition of this cornerstone for the space needs to be both Indigenous inspired, defined and led.  Other major Canadian public libraries have worked together with their Indigenous partners to come up with a program that is informed by the local Indigenous experience and stories.  What that space looks like, what programs it offers and how it is managed is for the Indigenous Communities to define. “

Committee member Cameron Kroetsch was concerned about the staff recommendation that designated the Library to lead the process, suggesting there needed to be much greater indigenous involvement, even to the point of turning the project over to the indigenous community to determine the future of the site. He also said he had concerns about plans to lease a major portion of the building to the Waterfront Shores consortium for 5 years to be used as a sales office for condos—a move that would delay implementing other uses for the facility. He referred to the West Harbour process which led to the sole-sourcing of development to Aeon Studios, saying he was not satisfied with the public consultation that led to that agreement.

The committee finally voted to defer the staff proposal until there can be at least one more consultation with the indigenous community, a process that will be led by the City Indigenous Affairs Office. The results of that work are not likely to be complete until late in the year. The report has to be approved by the General Issues Committee and Council.

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