Circulation Supervisor Margaret Fisher is among those who are glad to hear steps are being taken to relocate the Chemainus public library to larger

Overdue library expansion in works

For many users of the cramped Chemainus library news that steps are being taken to replace it can’t come to soon.

The Vancouver Island Regional Library is asking the Cowichan Valley Regional District to borrow $2.3 million on its behalf to go toward construction of a new library in Chemainus.

But just in case ratepayers in the region are getting nervous, they can rest assured they won’t be on the hook for paying any of the money back.

“VIRL will be responsible for repaying the loan and there will be no increase in taxes or other costs for residents of the CVRD,” states an ad placed in the Chronicle, notifying the community about the financial arrangement.

North Cowichan’s contribution to the project will be the lot the library will sit on at the corner of Willow and Cypress – half the two-lot parcel where the old fire hall once stood.

North Cowichan Chief Administrative Officer Dave Devana said the formal transfer of the property will likely take place in the fall, followed by a VIRL consultation, with construction possibly taking place in 2018.

For many users of the cramped Chemainus library news that steps are being taken to replace it can’t come to soon.

“The Chemainus branch of VIRL does not meet the minimum standards set forward by the Library for the size and condition of the facility to adequately serve the community,” says a page on the VIRL web site.

It will be replaced by a 5,000 sq. ft. space, more than four times the 1,200 sq. ft. of floor space in the present location at 2592 Legion Street.

Funding for the project will be subject to an Alternative Approval Process, says the VIRL notice. Later this summer “residents will be asked if they are opposed to the project and the loan.” If more than 10 per cent are, “the project will not be passed.”