A lift for the library at Stanhope
By Chad Ingram
Published May 24, 2018
The Township of Algonquin Highlands plans to outfit the Stanhope branch of the Haliburton County Public Library with a lift, rather than a new exterior ramp, for accessibility purposes.
The initial plan had been the installation of a ramp at the building’s side entrance, for which the township received a draft drawing from an architect last year.
“The design was completed in late 2017, but due to winter conditions it was not possible to look at exterior alternatives to give persons with disabilities good access to the proposed ramp,” reads a report from interim public works director Brian Nicholson. “This has now been done and through discussions the installation of a lift was discussed."
During a May 17 meeting, Nicholson told councillors that a new ramp would entail a number of costs in addition to the ramp itself.
“We had to give access to that ramp,” he said, explaining that would entail considerable construction, tree removal and the creation of new paved areas.
A lift, Nicholson told councillors, would require much less construction on the exterior of the building, thereby retaining its historical aesthetics, reduce liability concerns due to less outdoor exposure, and would allow those requiring an accessible entrance to use the front door. It would require the use of a closet space under the staircase. Nicholson said that closet is used for a storage, and new storage space created.
A lift going from the front entrance to library’s main floor would cost approximately $30,000, and one accessing both the main floor and the basement about $45,000. The township will apply to the Enabling Accessibility Fund to help pay for the project. The project would be completed as part of the 2019 budget.
“Certainly, it’s the best solution,” said Mayor Carol Moffatt, noting a lift would retain the building’s aesthetics and allow everyone to use the front door.
Councillor Lisa Barry wondered if the lift, which will travel up the building’s front stairway, would limit access to the stairway’s railings. Nicholson said that it was his understanding that the track for the lift would essentially act as a railing when the the lift was not in use.
The lift will require regular inspections and maintenance, and Nicholson’s report indicated that some cost savings may be able to be achieved by combining those services with ones required for a lift at the Dorset Rec Centre.
“The Dorset Recreation Centre currently has a lift that works on the same principle as the lift being proposed for the Stanhope library,” it reads. “Ongoing inspections may be able to be paired up with the Dorset Recreation Center potentially resulting in reduced yearly costs.”
Councillors approved a price of $3,500 plus expenses and taxes to be paid to Huntsville architect Duncan Ross for the completion of permit drawings.
Ward 3 Councillor Marlene Kyle suggested that the installation of a similar system be explored for the Oxtongue Lake Community Centre.