Saanich staff promise that plans to refurbish the old Emily Carr library will lead to higher taxes or user fees. (Black Press File).

Saanich staff promise that plans to refurbish the old Emily Carr library will lead to higher taxes or user fees. (Black Press File).

Saanich plans to approve improvements to old Emily Carr library

Staff promise that improvements worth $2.1 million won’t lead to higher taxes, fees

Saanich says the planned refurbishing of an empty public building will not lead to higher taxes or user fees.

This promise appears in a report as council prepares to spend $2.1 million towards the refurbishing of the old Emily Carr library. Saanich municipal hall and its annex would also undergo some minor renovations under the plans that require changes to the current financial plan.

RELATED: Saanich plans to turn former Emily Carr library into office space

“None of the above amendements impact tax revenue requirements or user fees,” said Valla Tinney, Saanich’s director of finance.

Funding for the project is coming from Saanich’s capital works reserve fund.

Estimated completion date of the project would be the fourth quarter of 2019 and total annual operating costs for the renovated building would be $90,000.

Saanich’s pending approval of the plan marks a major step in the history of the building empty since December 2013, when it closed its doors, and its collection of some 30,000 books moved across Blanshard Street to the new Emily Carr library part of the Uptown complex.

The refurbishment confirms and consolidates the presence of municipal staff in the building, eliminating — at least for now — other options for its use.

Former mayor Richard Atwell earlier this summer surprised the public when he asked council to consider turning the building as a potential housing site for residents of tent city that had existed for several months at Regina Park.

While Atwell’s proposal failed to win a majority, the subject remained a source of controversy during the municipal election campaign, when Atwell and then-councillor, now Mayor Fred Haynes clashed over its use.

Atwell had also pitched the site as a location for modular supportive housing, a proposal Haynes questioned.

The building, located in Saanich’s retail and commercial centre and the location for future housing, services and economic activity, would be unsuitable, said Haynes before the municipal election.

RELATED: Saanich mayor pitches former Emily Carr library as housing site

RELATED: Provincial rejection of Saanich land for supportive housing riles candidates, housing advocates

Saanich’s decision to use the building for its own purposes marks a return to previous plans, as Saanich had initially planned to use the two-storey structure as additional office space for Saanich Police. But cost estimated deemed these plans financially unsustainable, and competed against other options.

Speaking to Saanich News in September 2017, before the emergence of the homeless camp in Regina, Atwell said the best outcome would be for the building to be part of larger mixed-residential development. The area, including the nearby Munro Centre which includes the Saanich News is zoned C-5 Civic Core and allows maximum height of 37 metres.

Saanich’s engineering services will work out of the building, once crews have completed renovations.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

West Shore RCMP K9 Halla. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sound of RCMP dog enough to stop suspects in Oak Bay

West Shore RCMP K9 unit called in, didn’t get to chase

Colin Davidson won $100K on a Set for Life scratch ticket in Sooke. (BCLC photo)
Sooke man does ‘happy dance’ after scratching a $100,000 Set for Life win

Colin Davidson plans to renovate his home and invest in his daughter’s education

Proposed design for the Topaz Park bike and skate park elements. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Victoria requesting feedback on Topaz Park redesign

Public input now being taken for proposed skate, bike park ideas

Improving safety at Keating Cross Road and the Pat Bay Highway is the goal of the flyover project currently in the works. The province aims to reveal the final cost and design this fall. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Final budget, design of Keating flyover in Central Saanich still in the works

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says information coming by this fall

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus students Ethan Reid, from left, Brenden Higgins, Ty Oviatt, Kaleb Alphonse, Nathan Kendrick and Landon Brink with RCMP officers Const. Nicoll and Const. Stancec. (Photo submitted)
RCMP thank 6 teens for helping prevent forest fire in Williams Lake

The students came across fire in a wooded area and used the water they had to try and extinguish the flames

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre has embarked on a fundraising campaign, seeking to raise $1 million for establishment of an independent urban Indigenous school. Pictured here, Tsawalk Learning Centre students at an Orange Shirt Day event in September. (Submitted photo)
Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre looks to raise $1 million for urban Indigenous school

Centre says independent school would be first of its kind in B.C.

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Island man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Most Read