Rimbey council recinds plan to sell offices to library

The Rimbey library saga has been a page turner.

The Rimbey library saga has been a page turner.

In the latest twist in the tale, residents voted last week against a proposal to sell the town offices to the library for a token $1 to make room for an expansion.

The town would have moved its staff to leased space in the community’s provincial building.

In the June 3 plebiscite, 361 voted against moving the town offices and 264 in favour.

Council voted Monday to rescind a previous motion to sell the town offices for $1 to the library board, said town chief administrative officer Tony Goode.

“Council accepted the results,” said Goode.

“They said previously they would honour the results of the plebiscite.”

What happens next is up the library board.

An expansion of some sort is still needed and options such as building an addition will be reviewed.

Significant fundraising will likely be required.

Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson said other options will likely carry a bigger price tag and take longer to build.

Council hasn’t heard the last of this issue, he predicts.

“I imagine it will be an issue in the next election.”

What started out as a seemingly innocuous proposal to give the library some much needed space, turned into a coffee shop controversy that eventually spawned a petition calling for a plebiscite on the initiative in this fall’s elections.

The plebiscite was ruled invalid because of shaky wording, but council decided to put the matter to rest once and for all and put the issue to a vote, an approach endorsed by the town’s library board, which saw it as the “only way to stop the negativity” on what had become a divisive issue.

In a sign of just how high emotions were running on the library issue, library board president Rowena Aitken recently submitted a letter to the editor of the Rimbey Review highlighting the board’s concern about the bullying of the town’s librarian.

Aitken said the librarian had been “mocked and belittled” at public meetings, shunned by some townspeople, slandered and had her work ethic questioned.

“When the perpetrators are adults, how on earth can we expect our younger generations to exhibit tolerance and understanding for each other when their elders fail to do so?” Aitken wrote in the letter published June 4.

Aitken could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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