Plan a second library for vacant grocery space


Seeing as building a new library for St. Albert was voted down in the last election plebiscite it might be a good time to take a new approach. At some point either the Safeway or the Sobeys store (now both part of the Empire group) on St. Albert Trail will likely close. This might be a good opportunity for the library to move into whichever one is vacated.
It is my understanding that a new Sobeys is being planned for the area around the western district around the Enjoy Center. This would allow for the vacated grocery store to relocate the fixtures (shelves, coolers, freezers) from the vacated store to the new facility. Moving the library into the vacated grocery store would then allow the relocation of municipal offices (thus saving rent) from the building on St. Anne Street into a city owned facility (the vacated current library) thus saving on rent.
The new library location would offer a central location, provide ample parking and solve a parking problem in its current location. The renovated library should be considerably less than acquiring new land and designing and building a new library from scratch. Just hire an architect with the instructions that a Taj Mahal style and luxury building is not required. Simply change the façade, provide new flooring, construct some interior walls for meeting rooms and presto one has a functional building that holds books. It does not have to be fancy. Like Intel’s slogan “it’s what inside that counts.”
The other big advantage is that there will not be a huge building sitting empty on the main thoroughfare on St. Albert Trail. Just look at the old London Drugs which is still empty. Having lived in Edmonton for over 50 years before moving to St. Albert, I have seen my share of empty Safeway stores that were mothballed over the years, many of which are still vacant and often have taken down the mini malls where they were once the anchor. Safeway typically has in their lease that a new grocery store cannot occupy an empty Safeway store. It is time to be proactive and practise the three “R”s of recycling, reducing and reusing.
Martin McBean, St. Albert



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