Council discusses location for a new library

Talk of building facility in John Phillips Memorial Park

A Notice of Motion was brought forward by Councillor Kerrie Reay to find a location for the new Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) in Sooke – with emphasis on reconsidering the John Phillips Memorial Park (JPMP) location.

The matter was brought back into light at Monday night’s council meeting because the current VIRL library (located on Anna Marie Road) is already at maximum capacity – and that further delay on making a final decision on the library’s new location may result in Sooke not having a new library until 2020 or later.

According to Reay’s report, Sooke was one of the first jurisdictions to express desire to proceed, putting the District of Sooke on top of VIRL’s consolidated library list. In 2012, VIRL conducted a community consultation in Sooke to identify a parcel of land for the library.

“But this was delayed by the municipality again. For the past two years, the district has been unable to identify a parcel of land for its location,” Reay said.

The suggested JPMP location- which has been subject to intense public discussion since 2010 due to site’s history and cultural significance to Sooke – was met with opposition from members of the public as well as councillors Brenda Parkinson and Ebony Logins.

“There is so much opposition to that location, and I can’t support it either, just because I can’t get that parkland back; once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Logins said. “Unless the district has a plan around bringing in parkland in other downtown locations, giving up that space doesn’t sit right with me.”

A final decision has been in limbo for two years; with discussions from council considering multiple options that have either been too small, too costly, or just not wanted by the public. Even a possible land swap with the Lions was brought up at one point, though the piece of property was just too small.

“We even thought to go to developers and owners of land who want to grow their projects and do business, but that proved to be too expensive,” said Councillor Rick Kasper.

With public focus and opposition remaining firm on protecting the John Phillips Park location, Kasper noted a final decision still needs to be made soon.

“The emotional record on what we decide to do with that piece of land is a bit long in tooth,” Kasper said. “If we show some leadership in conjunction with the VIRL, perhaps we’ll see a brand-new facility there in less than two years. Otherwise, we’ll be here in 2020 going around in circles over and over.”

Mayor Maja Tait noted another path to take would be setting the focus on the town centre – and perhaps fitting the new library into those set of plans.

“I would like us to look at the options; would a developer be interested in providing the land as an amenity instead of the other things are always looking at?” Tait said. “I just struggle with us putting a building outside the town centre when that’s been an ongoing priority for this council.”

For the time being council will currently hold out on Reay’s motion to progress with the JPMP location of the new library, with a decision to be considered in the next council report on the matter.

Just Posted

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

Nurse comes home to ‘dream job’ at Saanich Peninsula Hospital

Jane Fox is the first Aboriginal liaison nurse at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital

Mix of sun and cloud ahead for Monday

Plus a look ahead at your week

PHOTOS: Thousands show for 40th GoodLife Marathon in downtown Victoria

New records, first-time runners, and stories of resilience

Mother of alleged hit-and-run victim hopes municipalities will work together to improve crosswalk

Young woman injured, dog killed when struck by driver on marked crosswalk at Foul Bay Road

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Dog killed in alleged hit and run, Goodlife Marathon takes over city and more

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

The one with the ‘Friends’ photoshoot: Kelowna group recreates TV show intro

A friend’s departure prompted them to create something that really says, “I’ll be there for you”

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Most Read