Cortes Island library may have a home

Amendment will allow Cortes’ Linnaea Farm Society to re-locate the library to its former school building

A new location for the shuttered Cortes Island library will go before a public hearing later this month.

Directors at last Thursday’s regional district board meeting gave first two readings to a bylaw amendment that will allow Cortes’ Linnaea Farm Society to re-locate the library to its former school building.

The society needs the regional district to allow “public library” as an accepted use in the Agricultural Land Stewardship One zone in order to re-open the library at the old school at 1255 Seaford Road.

But before the bylaw amendment can be approved, the issue needs to go to a public hearing.

Strathcona Regional District staff had recommended the hearing be held on April 6 but Cortes Island director Noba Anderson wanted that changed.

Anderson requested the board change the date to Wednesday, March 27.

“The date (change) is simply that it allows us to get to the board meeting earlier,” Anderson said. “This approval has taken us a long time and we want to move as quickly as we can.”

Anderson’s hope is that by moving the date, the bylaw change can go back in front of the regional district board by its April 3 meeting. It would then have to go to the Vancouver Island Regional Library board which meets April 6. If it misses that meeting, the bylaw would not be able to go in front of the library board until June 15 when it meets again.

For Cortes Islanders the library has been a priority since it was unexpectedly shut down last May by the Vancouver Island Regional Library due to safety concerns surrounding the building’s mezzanine. An inspector found the weight of the library books was too much for the floor to bear and the regional library was forced to close the library out of fear the floor could collapse.

Vancouver Island Regional Library issued a Request for Proposals last June to seek out a new space for the library after talks with the Southern Cortes Community Association to find a temporary location broke down.

The Linnaea Farm Society was the only respondent and entered into an intent to lease agreement with the Vancouver Island Regional Library on Sept. 15. The society intends to house the library in the Twinflower wing (built in 2006) of the former Linnaea School which was established in 1987 as an alternative educational program.