Moving the downtown police arrest processing unit would help pave the way for crucially needed library renovations or even a new central library, a city alderman said.
Ward 14 Ald. Linda Fox-Mellway, who also sits on the library board, would like to see the current arrest processing unit, located behind the Central Library, move to the Calgary Courts Centre to make room for renovations to the aging facility.
“I just think it would make sense since that’s where they end up anyways and there is actually space for about 300 prisoners in the courts building,” Fox-Mellway said.
The price tag for a full library renovation has been slated at $53 million, but the city has only earmarked $40 million for the project.
Fox-Mellway said she had been communicating with the police about the idea and deputy chief Jim Hornby confirmed it was one option.
“We know we need a new holding facility as this one is over five decades old and doesn’t meet the needs of the community anymore. We’re looking to move,” he said, adding they are working with the city and the province.
“We’d like it sooner than later but a lot of things have to fall into place. We’re hoping for a solution in the next year or so.”
Library CEO Gerry Meek said the 50-year-old library is waiting in limbo on word of a new building and while they wait the renovations are piling up.
“We need to make a decision either way and soon,” he said.
On Wednesday’s committee meeting the state of the library will be discussed.