EDITORIAL: Sooke Library location not about money

A new library branch on Wadams Way should be looked at as enhancing Sook'es town centre

The Vancouver Island Regional Library board’s efforts to move away from the Wadams Way property to the SEAPARC Leisure Complex shouldn’t just be about the dollars. It should focus on community development and the best use of the new $6-million library branch in Sooke.

More than a year ago, the District of Sooke and library officials announced with great fanfare the municipality bought two hectares of land along Wadams Way. The property, we were told, would house a new 10,000 square foot library and other municipal amenities. Officials were giddy over the prospects.

Fast forward to last month when it was revealed the SEAPARC board and library officials were discussing moving the project to Phillips Road.

The reason: the district and library board couldn’t agree on the price to clear the Wadams Way land – a price tag of about $600,000.

The new library branch is looked at by district council as one of the focal points to further creating a city centre, especially along the Wadams Way corridor.

Now with the library board hedging its bets, it puts a damper on that vision. We believe the property was a good buy and many uses are appropriate.

It’s not up to the library trustees to foster the vision of council, but it does have a responsibility to find the best location for a new library.

SEAPARC isn’t that place.

For a library, it is out of the way and wouldn’t further enhance the library’s – and possible the leisure centre’s – use. There’s several problems with the location, including parking and further expansion of the recreation facility.

Wadams Way is the only location.

It has many attributes, besides the central location. It will be linked to an area that’s growing and will continue to grow. The mayor and council have mulled the property for years and along with the library, you might see a community centre, likely aimed at youth, affordable housing, even a medical facility.

On March 18, the library board will meet in Nanaimo to decide the location of the new library in Sooke. We hope there’s little debate on the location and that common sense prevails for the Wadams Way location. We certainly hope our elected officials on the board, including Coun. Kerrie Reay and CRD director Mike Hicks, stand up for Sooke.