A new library in downtown Campbell River is moving ahead.
This month, Campbell River Council affirmed its support of the project to see a two-storey, 20,000 square foot facility on the site of the current branch at 1240 Shoppers Row.
“Campbell River Council and staff have always been clear that a new library is an important piece in the city’s economic development plans and in their commitment to revitalizing downtown,” says Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) Board Chair, Brenda Leigh. “With the support of Council, we can formally get this project underway and construct a facility that will complement the city’s goals and provide a world-class library for the entire Strathcona region. I would like to thank everyone involved in this project for bringing us to this exciting day.”
The Victoria-based architectural firm, Low Hammond Rowe (LHR), will design the new library. VIRL has a successful history of working with LHR in the past on the design of the Nanaimo North branch and the renovation of the Sidney/North Saanich branch. The firm has also been the vision behind many exciting projects at academic institutions and other large-scale projects.
“We look forward to a new library and the new energy it will bring for our downtown,” says Mayor Andy Adams. “A new facility at this location will help address some of the current challenges we have in this area. We encourage community members to participate in future public consultation events and learn how the building design will provide a safe and welcoming environment, as has been done in other communities.”
Mayor Adams adds, “With Campbell River’s growing technology sector, the timing is right to expand library services. Contemporary libraries offer all kinds of resources, including meeting and digital activity spaces. We encourage all community members to stay tuned for opportunities to influence what’s available in our new library.”
VIRL and the city will host two shared public consultations events. The first will gather feedback and ideas on the design and features of the library; the second will present the proposed renderings and provide answers to outstanding questions. More information, including dates, locations and formats, will be provided as it becomes available.
The budget of $14 million includes the cost of construction, furnishings, technology infrastructure, and site preparation. Funding was secured through a loan from the Municipal Finance Authority to the Strathcona Regional District, who will transfer the borrowing proceeds to VIRL. Because VIRL is a regional system with a pooled budget, the costs of the new library will be shared by member jurisdictions rather than paid for by Campbell River taxpayers alone through their regional district contribution.
The City of Campbell River has committed to providing a no-cost lease to VIRL, demolishing the existing facility, and to servicing the site with sewage, water, drainage and CR Municipal Broadband service.
Later this year, a meeting between VIRL and the City of Campbell River will review the processes and outline the next steps for the project, including a proposed location for temporary library services during construction as well as construction start date and timeline.
Visit virl.bc.ca or campbellriver.ca for updates as the project progresses.