New library for Sooke not on the priority list

A new library for Sooke will not be coming anytime soon

Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne is a bit perturbed at the  apparent hesitation of the Vancouver Island Regional Library Board to build a new library in Sooke.

At one time Sooke was high up on the priority list for a new facility, but now it appears Sooke is at least sixth on the list.

In 2011 Sooke was at the top of the list and for some reason has been shuttled lower down on the priority list.

In a letter to the VIRL Milne states that a current tax increase in the  VIRL five-year plan levies a 6.5 per cent increase in taxes to Sooke.

Milne said increases of this magnitude are not sustainable. The district five-year budget shows $456,770 being paid in 2013 for library services. The library is currently located in a small building on Anna Marie Road.

Now, said Milne, the VIRL wants the district to acquire land for a new library building.

“The ground rules seem to have changed,” said Milne at the council meeting on July 8. “Historically the library board would acquire the property.”

The library in Sooke is funded by both the District of Sooke and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.

Milne will be sending a strongly worded letter to the VIRL asking some tough questions.

Councillor Rick Kasper agreed with Milne and said the letter was “long overdue.”

In other council  news, the district was informed by Ellen Smith  (Jock’s Dock) that a total of $546.50 was   received from boat launch fees over the year and almost the whole sum was given to charity, the Sooke Food Bank and the Charters River Salmon Enhancement Centre.

Councillor Herb Haldane stated that this was a “far cry from being a cash cow.” He said it was still a huge task to come up with  funds to make this a viable operation.

A decision has not yet been made as to  how the public boat launch will be  operated and by whom, although a Request For Proposal  brought in two options.