Plan to move library into Clearwater Arena taking shape

The Mallroad Library branch on Lambton Mall Road. Troy Shantz

Troy Shantz

Sarnia could save $60,000 a year by moving the Mallroad Library to Clearwater Arena, city staff says.

A floor plan and budget to retrofit the upper level of the Wellington Road arena is in the works, and community consultations are now underway.

In the meantime, Sarnia has extended the library’s lease in the Lambton Mall Road plaza for one more year.

The upper hall at Clearwater arena is already fully accessible, has a separate entrance, and windows overlooking the ice surface that could add to the experience of patrons, a staff report notes.

The site is also well serviced by city transit and close to the YMCA and Lambton College.

Renting the arena hall brings in about $10,000 a year while leasing the MallRoad Library branch space costs taxpayers $70,000 annually, staff said.

At a December meeting city councillors seemed to like the concept.

Coun. Brian White said combining amenities in one accessible mixed-use community hub is a good use of public space.

“Not only is it efficient but it’s extremely creative,” he said.

Depending on public feedback, the new library site could be operational by Dec 31, 2021.

An online public survey is now open at speakupsarnia.ca.

Residents can also register for a virtual Open House to take place Jan. 20, at 4 p.m. Those who don’t register in advance can also tune in once the Open House starts.

Surveys and comments will be accepted until noon on Jan. 26 with a report going to council on Feb. 8