Is the City looking to refurbish the former Carnegie Library at 380 William Ave., the previous site of the City’s archival collection?
All options will be explored. The Public Service is reviewing the options, including but not limited to re-developing 380 William Ave. for the archives. Information provided by the cost/benefit analysis and feedback from stakeholders and the public will be used to develop a recommendation for Council’s consideration.
Why is the City exploring facility options for its archival collection?
Through the Archives Strategic Development Plan, the City is exploring facility options to address the storage and preservation needs for its growing archival collection, to allow enough space for its programming, and to create an accessible space that allows Winnipeggers to continue to have access to records and conduct research.
Why are the facilities currently being used for archival purposes not suitable?
The Branch currently operates out of two leased facilities: its Corporate Records Centre is located in the Inkster Industrial Park and is used to store all inactive or semi-active administrative records; while its archival collection is stored at 50 Myrtle St.
The archival collection used to be housed at the former Carnegie Library, located at 380 William Ave. However, damage to the building during renovations and maintenance resulting from major rainstorms in 2013 meant that the collection and operations had to be relocated. The facility currently sits empty and requires significant funding to re-develop it for the archives. The City is currently reviewing possible uses for the building.
The facility at 50 Myrtle St. was intended as a short-term solution, and is not well-suited for archival storage and programming. The Corporate Records Centre will continue to be used for administrative records, but is not suitable for the archival collection.
How will the Archives facility be selected?
The Public Service will make recommendations to Council based on a cost/benefit analysis of all feasible options and feedback.
How can I provide feedback?
Stakeholders were invited to meetings in January 2020.
What was the scope of the consultant’s study?
The consultant conducted a jurisdictional scan of like-sized archives, consulted with stakeholders, identified program needs and space requirements, and identified options and high-level financial projections for securing and adapting a facility for the archives.
Who completed the study?
In October 2019, an RFP for consulting services was issued. It was awarded to Cornerstone Planning Group. Their report is available here.
Why did the City conduct further investigation on the Carnegie Library option?
This work was done to confirm whether the Carnegie Library (380 William Ave.) meets the needs of the archival program and because the Public Service requires this study for the cost/benefit analysis of all feasible options. It does not mean that the City has selected this option for the archives.
How much will a new Archives facility cost?
The project costs are still unknown. The consultant’s report included Class 3 (-20 to +30%) estimates for multiple options that ranged from $13.3 million to $25.8 million. Class 3 estimates are based on the opinion of probable cost and done as a preliminary step. Once the City selects a recommended option, project costs will be estimated at a Class 2 level (-10% to +20%).
How large is the City’s existing archival collection?
The City’s archival collection is unique and irreplaceable and includes minutes, by-laws, maps, photographs, drawings, and artifacts.
Couldn’t the City sell off parts of, or all of its archival collection to address its current storage issues?
No. The City’s Records Management By-law (123/2020) outlines that records must be maintained for legal, financial, and administrative purposes. In addition, the collection contains personal and sensitive information, including confidential reports, third-party disclosures, proprietary information, and personnel files, which must be managed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Protection and Privacy Act (FIPPA) and the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA).
Could the City digitize the entire archival collection and make it available online?
A growing number of archival records are digitized and accessible through the website Winnipeg in Focus. Digitizing everything is not a solution to the current storage needs of the archives, since the original records must be kept and preserved.
What would it cost to re-develop 380 William Ave. for the archives?
The project costs are still unknown. The consultant’s report from April 2020 includes a Class 3 (-20% to +30%) estimate of $13.3 million. In April 2021, Pico Architecture provided a more recent Class 3 estimate of $8.4 million based on updated specifications, drawings, and other details. However, these estimates do not include additional costs related to hazardous materials, required consultant fees, contingencies, etc. Once the City selects a recommended option, project costs will be estimated at a Class 2 level (-10% to +20%).