James Bay library getting closer to reality

The City of Victoria has approved a 7,500-square foot neighbourhood library branch in James Bay, in theory.

The City of Victoria has approved a 7,500-square foot neighbourhood library branch in James Bay, in theory.

During budget discussions on Friday, council voted unanimously to approve the branch at the maximum size recommended by the Greater Victoria Public Library Board and the James Bay Community Association based on public feedback received a few months ago.

“It is a 20-year-old promise for some sort of community amenity in James Bay,” said Marg Gardiner, president of the James Bay Community Association. “This would provide more of a public realm place.”

She added the branch could potentially be multi-purpose, providing a full range of services to the community.

As part of the 1994 Victoria Accord, the province and the city agreed to establish a vision and plan for Capital Park and other small parcels of land located behind the legislature, which would include community amenities such as a library.

An agreement between developer Jawl Properties and the city, allows the city to lease space for the library.

But council hasn’t given the entire project the green light yet and are only supporting it in theory.

Council would have to potentially lease the space for an estimated $300,000 a year (at market rent), with roughly $110,000 in staffing costs, which would be shared between the municipalities on the library board. Some of the cost would have to come out of the 2017 budget.

Most councillors supported the theory of a library branch to serve residents of James Bay, but were reluctant to do so, due to a lack of information and the size.

Coun. Jeremy Loveday said he wished the information was presented in a different way to allow councillors a few days to consider.

“I feel this is out of the blue. We need a bigger picture of what 7,500 square feet looks like. I was supportive when they passed rezoning, but with this motion, I’m a little less clear about it at this point,” he said.

Coun. Geoff Young said it might be useful to look at other areas where the library could be built, so the city could act as an owner rather than a tenant.

Coun. Pam Madoff spoke in favour of the motion, citing all the children who would benefit from the library.

“It’s not just responding to an opportunity that’s popped up, it’s been on the books since 1993 as part of the Victoria Accord,” Madoff said. “All this would allow for is just to be able to continue having conversations with the developer . . . There’s no risk, it’s just saying this is something we’re willing to look at.”

The Emily Carr branch on Blanshard Street is approximately 3,500 square feet and the central library on Broughton Street is roughly 45,000 square feet.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria Fire Department advises cigarette safety after two fires started in one week

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

VicPD faces ‘significant pressure’ following Victoria’s 2019 budget decision

Chief Const. Del Manak says council continues to micromanage his department

28 years later: Dunahee disappearance remains largest investigation in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

Saanich could become the new home of the world’s largest gnome

Galey Farms could find out Tuesday whether it will host the eight-metre-tall structure

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Most Read