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Public library will reopen next month following roof, wall remediation: City, councillors

The Flin Flon Public Library will reopen next month, city officials say, after being closed early this month due to issues with the building's roof and walls.
The Flin Flon Public Library building, seen here on Nov. 11, has been closed since Nov. 4. Workers could be seen assessing the building's roof last week.

The Flin Flon Public Library will reopen next month, city officials say, after being closed early this month due to issues with the building's roof and walls.

The reopening was announced by the City of Flin Flon and on the library's official social media pages Nov. 16, stating that the current tentative reopening date would be December 13.

"After the engineering assessment, the library is required to undergo repairs and is tentatively scheduled to re-open on or before December 13," reads the statement.

Top representatives, including city council members and executive City staff, met Nov. 14 to discuss the building’s future. Repairs have been ongoing at the library - more specifically, on the building’s roof - on and off for the past two weeks.

Cost estimates for the project are not yet known.

At the Nov. 15 meeting of city council, leaders spoke about the closure, saying that reopening the library safely was a top priority for the City, with Mayor George Fontaine adding that the situation would not be like the former Flin Flon Aqua Centre, which was temporarily closed in January 2020, then permanently closed the next month, partially destroyed by a roof collapse that fall and demolished in December 2020.

"We will be able to be finished with the study and the repairs by mid-December," said Mayor George Fontaine.

"It's cause to be careful whenever we see any kind of structure issue. We don't want to see a repeat of what happened with the pool."

The issue, Fontaine said, was with the library's roof where it joined the building's walls. The mayor said there was "some disintegration in the walls at that point."

"They're looking at a remediation, whether it's temporary or permanent, being done before anybody gets back to working in there," he said.

"We had an engineer look at it - we were correct in shutting it down, according to them," said councillor Bill Hanson, the newly named chair of council's engineering services committee - Hanson also serves as the chair of the committee that runs the library itself.

"We'll be receiving preliminary drawings this week and hopefully by next week, we will have actual drawings from the engineer. Then, we can find whoever can do it the quickest, in my mind - that's the people that we get to do this. It's not going to be a large amount of money."

Hanson said getting the library open before the holidays is a priority, adding the library is used heavily during the Christmas season.

"I think Christmas time is very important for the library, to families, to children. The Read to Me program has been suspended. There's a whole bunch of small programs that people don't always think about that have been suspended," he said.

The library closed earlier this month after concerns were raised over the state of its home building, the Centennial Building at the corner of Main Street and Third Avenue West. The building, which was first opened to the public in 1967, was refurbished in 2020 but is now considered to be a possible risk to the public, pending assessment.

The Main Street institution's temporary closure was announced Nov. 4, with the City circulating statements via its social media channels. Results of a structural assessment of the building were still pending as of press time. All library programs, including youth reading and in-person borrowing, have been postponed until the library can reopen.

Earlier this fall, the library began the process of applying for funding through the provincial small capital grants special initiative program, which would provide funding through the province - and potentially, through the City - to help fund both programs and repairs.

The library is also hosting its annual 50/50 draw to help raise funds for new books, with tickets available until Dec. 1.

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