District of Sooke

District of Sooke buys land for potential library site

District of Sooke announces the purchase of a 5.26-acre parcel of land in town centre.

This an updated version of a previous story

 

.The new Sooke branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library could find a new home on land south of Evergreen Mall.

At a news conference Monday, the District of Sooke announced the purchase of a parcel of land in the town centre for $1.42 million.

The 5.26-acre property, bordered by Evergreen Mall on the south and Wadams Way on the north, is undeveloped.

“I see this as a great fit for a new library, and the learning and community gathering opportunities that come with it,” said acting mayor Kerrie Reay.

The land was bought to build a library, but 80 per cent of the property will be available for other non-specified uses.

The current library at 2065 Anna Marie Rd. is undersized for Sooke.

“This [new] facility will help us increase from 3,600 square feet to 10,000 square feet, which is much more appropriately sized for this community. It will also have room to grow over the next 25 years,” said Jamie Anderson, director of library services for the Vancouver Island Regional Library.

Construction of a new Sooke library has been discussed for years.

Last year, John Phillips Park was considered as a possible location for the library, but was met with opposition by both the community and some members of council.

Last fall, the Capital Regional District approved a loan of up to $6 million to build a facility. The library would be 10,000 square feet in size.

The newest development meets most of the criteria required by the library board to fulfil the commitment to build a new library, Anderson said.

The property was bought with district reserve funds. The reserve funds will be replenished following this year’s budget and five-year financial plan review, said Coun. Rick Kasper, who began his stint as acting mayor yesterday.

“No tax increase will be necessary for this purchase,” he said, adding there are several options for council to consider at budget time, including taking a 1.35 per cent loan from the Municipal Finance Authority.

The purchase of the land aligns with the district’s strategic plan goals of fiscal sustainability, community planning and enhancing community livability.

Construction of the new library is expected to begin in 24 to 36 months.