New Sooke Library designs to be unveiled May 16
by Mary P Brooke, West Shore Voice News
Although a new library for the growing town has been officially at the top of the priority list for the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) board since about 2012, the procession of steps to getting a new building has been plagued with financial delays and political complications, even missteps. Meanwhile, a rented premise (considered a costly alternative) has continued on Anna Marie Road within town centre.
The snags have had mostly to do with finding land upon which to build the library (and all the politics involved with that). VIRL puts up libraries at their own cost but the municipality must provide the land. The VIRL business model to produce libraries this way pushed their 27 or so member communities into a new paradigm of doing business.
Sooke Council for all their pontification about supporting the community, for years seemingly gagged at the thought of providing land for free (despite the obvious benefits of moving ahead with a facility that serves a broad range or purposes in a community, well beyond loaning out books).
The District of Sooke Mayor in 2011-2014 was Wendal Milne; the mayor since 2014 has been Maja Tait. Through all this period, the District of Sooke rep to the VIRL board has been Sooke Councillor Kerrie Reay.
Finally a few years ago — with some political muscle input by Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks at the VIRL board table — the District of Sooke bought a section of previous farmland along Wadams Way (which runs parallel to Sooke Road). Called ‘Lot A’, that land is now a crown jewel for the District of Sooke (positioned behind Evergreen Shopping Centre it could effectively expand town centre). Within Lot A, a section has been shaved off for VIRL to get on with building a new 10,000 sq.ft. facility, a swath of natural growth forest felled and all.
Tonight at 5:30 pm the proposed new architectural designs for the new library will be unveiled in the humble digs that are the lower level of Sooke Community Hall. At 6:30 pm (to 8 pm) VIRL will make a formal presentation and take questions. Open to the public. Given the local interest in this long-awaited evolution, the downstairs level at the community hall will probably be packed to overflowing.