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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)
Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

Landmarks such as Howard the giant gnome at Galey's Farm in Saanich make a stunning backdrop for celebratory dance in the Greater Victoria Festival Society trailer for its coming Dance Victoria campaign. (Screeshot/Greater Victoria Festival Society)
Residents’ videos help campaign Dance Across Victoria

Celebratory dance clips to be compiled into Greater Victoria Festival Society video

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read