First of all, I want to alleviate the concerns in the community about the Coal Branch Archives closing.
The Coal Branch Archives are the community’s. Through generous donations of dollars and time, Hinton should be proud of this incredible resource; What is more, under this Council, the Archives will not be closing. The Town is the custodian of this historical record of our past, and we all understand the importance of retaining our history.
It is very unfortunate that a message contrary to this has been spread across not only the community, but across the entire province, and beyond.
When Council had proposed the 4% (or ~$19,000) reduction in the Hinton Municipal Library 2017 Appropriation request, it was following considerable discussion and deliberation.
All of Hinton can, and should, be proud to have a library such as ours.
The Hinton Municipal Library is the 2nd highest funded library per capita amongst those communities with a population between 5,000 and 50,000 residents. Even with the proposed allocation of $475,000 for 2017, the Hinton Municipal Library will continue to be in the top funded libraries in the entire province.
It is also important for the community to note that the $475,000 allocation to the Library is not the whole amount. Each year an additional $85-90,000 is provided by the Town to cover the costs of utilities, custodial services and other facilities costs. And then, on top of all that, the Town provides support services (IT, Finance, Communications, HR, etc), plus provides the Library space for no rental cost.
To summarize, the Coal Branch Archives are Hinton’s. They will not be closing.
The Hinton Municipal Library is one of the highest funded libraries in the province and it will continue to be – even with the $475,000 appropriation that Council is proposing to provide to the Library for 2017.
We understand the feelings and emotions around this, however I want to ensure that all the facts are presented so our residents understand the contemplation and considerations made around this decision.