No one suggested saying no to a new library

LETTERS

Re: City should consider “fresh alternative” to library plan – Campbell River Mirror Nov. 9, 2020

This letter is in direct response to the letter written by Dan Samson of the Cedar and Cypress Property Group, printed in the Campbell River Mirror.

Kudos to the group for bringing the issue of the new library forward once again. While we certainly agree with them that the current mayor and council should be applauded for their commitment to invest in the downtown core, we also would like to reiterate their request that the city reconsider the location of the $14 million investment for a new library.

In addition, kudos go out to Mr. Mailman who, with considerable investment has now made the area around St. Ann’s and Alder Street an area of pride for all. One landlord has since been able to rent space that sat vacant for over 20 years. Good news for the City of Campbell River.

In a statement from an article printed Oct. 28, 2020 where Mayor Adams is quoted, “This 14 million is the Vancouver Island Regional Library Board’s money,” the Mayor continues. “If we choose to say ‘No, we don’t want it,’ they will take that 14 million – as they have for the past eight years and build a facility elsewhere on Vancouver Island.”

Hold on! Did anyone hear anyone suggest that the City of Campbell River say “No” to the new library? Of course not. Residents have expressed concern vocally and in writing to mayor and council since August and perhaps earlier that the new library would be better placed in a different location. No-one has ever suggested saying no.

While the money may, in fact, be coming from the Vancouver Island Regional Library board, the taxpayers of Campbell River have contributed dearly to the library with their property taxes.

Due to the current situation of the pandemic, library patrons have not had full access to the library and their services for months. Now, should the library be torn down at a cost of approximately $1 million of Campbell River taxpayers money? Once again, the patrons will not have access. Is this reflected in our taxes for next year with a proposed increase of 2.85 per cent? Perhaps these patrons should be expressing their concerns to the current mayor and council.

As the Cedar and Cypress group indicated, “the existing library building, which would likely cost in the 2.5 million range to replace, would be preserved and could be repurposed for the art gallery. As well, a further $1 million cost to the city to demolish the existing building would not be spent. How can this not be a win-win situation for all concerned?

Should you not only look at the money savings to the city, just look at how the site of the former “Rose Bowl” would be the best location that money could buy. The lot is large enough to house the library on one floor, enabling all persons to be able to access all that is offered. It only makes sense to have all library services on one floor. There would be a wonderful library built on what has been a building in disrepair (the Rose Bowl). This location would be easily accessible to the other cultural facilities on offer in the downtown core, the art gallery (currently the library) and the Tidemark Theatre. These are all in addition to the Community Centre which would be a mere few hundred feet away.

It only makes sense to utilize facilities that we currently have. There is no need to tear down a perfectly good building, leaving the citizens of Campbell River once again without a library, under the current proposal.

To all mayor and council who may be considering running in Campbell River’s next election, may we suggest that you take this and run with it? Elected officials need to be accountable to those who elect them and if we have to wait a few years for a new library, do we really care?

Prior to breaking ground, or buildings, there is no shame nor is it ever too late to have second thoughts.

In closing, I would like to indicate that perhaps the $225,000 that the City of Campbell River has decided to inject into the downtown safety concerns, that a portion of those funds be used to develop a proper plan for the future of the downtown going forward cohesively.

Ted Arbour

Campbell Riverdevelopment