Winnipeg archives in 'limbo': advocate
Published Friday, March 29, 2019 6:10PM CST
The City of Winnipeg archives are a link to our past. Among other things, they include records from the first city council meeting, pictures of the 1950 flood, and mementos from sporting events.
But the archives have been in a temporary location since 2013, and as the years go by some worry the plan for a permanent home will become a thing of the past too.
The treasures of Winnipeg's past are currently located in an industrial section of Winnipeg inside what retired history professor Tom Nesmith describes as “a big tin can.”
A building on Myrtle Street has been the home of Winnipeg's archives since 2013, but it wasn’t planned that way.
The Carnegie Library on William Avenue was the intended home.
The city had plans to build a temperature controlled vault and expanded program area inside. But in 2013 a rain storm caused a flood inside, so the city moved much of the archives into the Myrtle Street location, where they remain to this day.
"The archive services is kind of in limbo,” said Nesmeth, who is now with the Association for Manitoba Archives. “There has been no plan to relocate the archives into a proper facility. There's been no plan to continue the renovations on the Carnegie building."
"It is frustrating that we can't seem to get this finalized," said property and development committee chair Brian Mayes. Mayes says he truly values the archives, however a city report estimated it would cost more than $9 million to refurbish the Carnegie Library.
"It's the economics of it, in a pretty tight budget period," he said.
Heritage Winnipeg says blaming the budget or a lack of it simply isn't good enough anymore.
"There's always going to be budgetary restraints with the city. This year, next year and ten years from now. I believe it’s about priority," said Tugwell.
Cindy Tugwell believes restoring the Carnegie Library should be a higher priority for the city, as does Tom Nesmith, who calls it an essential service.
The city tells CTV News staff continue to develop the archives’ online presence, which is available on a city website.
-With files from CTV’s Jon Hendricks