The New Library!

 Crowded, musty space?  We're finished with that.  Impossibly hot premises on summer days?  Gone.  Too small collections bursting at the seams?  The end.  Inadequate program spaces?  Nevermore.  Is this really all there is to the kids’ section?  No reason to ask that anymore.  Line-ups for computers?  Historical.  Looking around for a comfortable, quiet place to just read a book?  Found one, no problem.  OK, so I got my wheelchair in the door but where do I go now?  Anywhere you want! 

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That's right, Powell River.  It's time for a new Library!

In April, 2009 the Board of Trustees of the Library appointed a New Library Committee to work on the initial phases of the project.  Lots has happened already.  The City has identified a new library as a priority in its Strategic Plan.  City Staff reported on their investigation of possible sites and Council decided on March 3, 2011 that its preferred site for a new library is the Old Arena Site, also known as Willingdon South.  This waterfront site is at the north end of the downtown corridor and borders Willingdon Beach Park. For many years this site was the home of one of the most important community gathering spaces in Powell River, a community-built arena.  Locating the new library here recognizes and continues this important history as well as the traditional use of this site for an important community cultural function.

In 2011, the New Library Committee hired MHPM Project Management, Inc. to manage the design process for the new Library.  Their task was to work collaboratively with the community to complete the design.  Architectural firms Miller Hull and Public Design + Communication were selected as the design team and they worked diligently with the community to develop the design.  As part of this design project, the team created a special website to report the progress of that phase of the project and interact with the community.  That website is no longer being maintained or updated but you can view it here.  In May 2012 the Board approved and released the final report on the design concept complete with preliminary cost information.  You can read that report by clicking here

Now the Board is working to identify and secure funding for the new Library.  We have spent some time learning about what is required to execute a successful fundraising campaign.  Now we are taking the first step in our campaign which is simply to determine whether it is feasible to raise $9.5 million to build the new Library.  To that end we have hired Pharos Fundraising Strategy + Communication of Surrey, BC to research and identify all possible sources of funding and to determine the level at which all of you are likely to be willing to fund the  new Library whether through donation or taxation.  The consultant's report will tell us objectively and at arms-length from the Board whether we can be successful with our fundraising.  We want to know this before we ask anyone for funding.

Our aim is to secure at least 2/3 from sources other than local taxation.  Once we've reached that goal, we'll propose to City Council that they approve building the new Library.  If long term borrowing is a component of the funding that will trigger a legal requirement for a referendum and  City Council has committed to a referendum before approving construction.  City Council has also endorsed the fundraising effort for the new Library at Willingdon South as well as Board's planning process to date.  The Regional District has stated their intent to fund their share of the new Library subject to a referendum there.

In July, the Board's consultant, Pharos Fundraising Strategy + Communication completed its report that the Board commissioned to determine whether it is possible to raise enough money to pay for the new Library that has  been designed at Willingdon South.  That report showed exceptionally strong support for the new Library and that our community is willing to pay for a portion of it through taxation and charitable contribution.  It also showed lingering concern about putting the library at Willingdon South.  In light of this, the Board has proposed to Council that it be given the green light to examine 1 or 2 additonal sites and then let the community express its preference for one in a series of community meetings and a community-wide telephone poll. 

In March 2014, Council decided to investigate a re-purposing of a portion of the second floor of the Powell River Recreation Complex to provide an additional option for a new Library site.  City staff had prepared a preliminary financial analysis of the cost of this option.  However, Council provided the funding and asked the Library Board to create a full design concept for this option that would enable the public to compare a design concept at the Complex with the design already created at Willingdon South.  The Board has created that design concept and is preparing to present it to Council and then learn Council's wishes with respect to a way forward to public consultation and then a referendum in November 2014.

At the September 18th, 2014 City Council, meeting Council decided to seek the approval of the electors on November 15th, 2014 for a new library at 4801 Joyce Avenue at Crossroads Village.   The referendum is to approve borrowing $3.5 million dollars for a maximum of 30 years for the purpose of a new library.   The City also resolved to have Staff negotiate the purchase of a turnkey library from the Crossroads Village proponents for $6 million dollars of which $2 million would be for purchase of the building and the remainder for renovations.  The City further resolved that City Staff work with the Library Board and the principals of Crossroads village on all aspects of design and build including a minimum of two community open house events.      

A report by Miller Hull Partnership was also presented to Council on both the Crossroads and the former Liquidation World sites.   


You can read a complete record of the project below by clicking on any of the links.

  • Read the Committee Of The Whole Resolution on New Library from Sept. 18th, 2014
  • Read the Crossroads Village new Library Loan Authorization Bylaw 2391,2014
  • Read the City staff report re New Library Funding Commitment Through Taxation - June 19, 2014
  • Read the InFocus Facilitation report on the City open house on the site location of the new Library.
  • Read the report on the newest design concept for a new Library at the Recreation Complex
  • Read the fundraising feasibility report
  • Read a press release dated September 12, 2013 regarding the findings of the fundraising feasibility report
  • Read a press release dated July 22, 2013 regarding the fundraising feasiblity report.
  • Read a press release dated April 4, 2013 regarding the Board's hiring a fundraising consultant.
  • Read a press release dated January 24, 2013 regarding our capital campaign.
  • Read the Request for Proposals from consultants to work on our capital campaign.
  • Read the Resolution of Powell River City Council dated July 5, 2012.
  • Read a press release regarding the Conceptual Design Report.
  • Read the Conceptual Design Report.
  • Read the Regional Board's statement on the new Library.
  • Read a chronology of the public planning process to date.
  • Read the Request for Proposals for architectural services to produce a design concept.
  • Read the Request for Proposal for project management services for the new Library design.
  • Read the City Staff report to Council recommending a new Library location.
  • Read the Library Board's recommendation for a new Library
  • Read our initial funding strategy for the new Library
  • Read an update on the work of the new Library committee
  • Read the Library needs assessment report
  • Read the new Library site selection report
  • Read the results of the general survey
  • Get a list of frequently asked questions about a new Library
  • See the results of the Texada Island public meeting
  • See the results of the Powell River public meeting
  • See the results of our random telephone survey
  • Read a letter to Mayor and Council from the Library Board about Council's choice of the Old Arena Site for the new Library.

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