City finance committee approves $65M more for new library
The design for the new super library at LeBreton Flats, which will host the Ottawa Public Library main branch and Library and Archives Canada's headquarters. (Courtesy: Diamond Schmitt Architects)
OTTAWA -- City councillors have unanimously approved spending an extra $65 million in city money on Ottawa’s new super library project at LeBreton Flats.
The finance and economic development committee voted 10-0 for the additional spending, which city staff say is necessary due to construction inflation.
The joint project with Library and Archives Canada, named Adisoke, is now expected to cost $306 million, up from an estimated $175 million price tag in 2018.
That’s not including the cost of a 200-spot underground parking garage, which has increased to $28 million, $10 million more than originally estimated.
In urging councillors to approve the spending Tuesday, Mayor Jim Watson said the city only knows the real cost of such projects once the tenders come in. The lowest bid, from PCL Construction, came in at $334 million.
“To suggest this is a cost overrun is not true. This is obviously costing additional dollars … but we’ve also been told the legitimate reasons why this is taking place,” he said.
The city included a contingency for 10 per cent escalation in 2018, but construction costs have inflated by 65 per cent, according to the staff report.
“Delaying major infrastructure investments only ends up costing us a lot more later on,” Watson added. “City-building projects are always costly, and they’re not always easy.”
The federal treasury board has already approved funding for its half of the project.
The library is also now scheduled to reopen in mid-2026 instead of 2025.
Council will vote on the budget increase on Oct. 27.