Oak Bay library branch up for renewal

Municipality prepares to replace aging structure

Greater Victoria’s second busiest library branch is up for renewal.

More than 700,000 books were checked out of the 44-year-old Oak Bay Branch on Monterey Avenue last year, said Greater Victoria Public Library spokesperson Alyssa Polinsky. Only the downtown central branch is busier.

Polinsky said the library board identified Oak Bay as one of three branches in need of an upgrade in the next five years, but that would be a temporary fix as the branch needs a larger home.

“It’s one of the top five priorities,” said Polinsky, adding that the Nellie McClung and central branches have also been prioritized for renovation. “I believe the plan is to do minor renovation upgrades and then move on to a new building.”

The last renovation at Oak Bay was in 1999 which saw the branch expanded by 492 sq. m (5,300 sq. ft) to its current 1,055 sq. m (11,358 sq. ft) size. Polinsky said Oak Bay sees a wide range of users including seniors seeking a quiet place to read, students doing school work and young families with children learning to read. The branch is also a hub for free internet access and group study.

“The needs of (our patrons) have changed,” Polinsky said. “The building was built in 1971 and it was clearly not built for people to come in to use their tablets and laptops.”

Polinsky added the library board is giving Oak Bay a heads-up that a replacement will be needed, understanding that such capital projects take time to plan and fund.

Coun. Kevin Murdoch, vice-chair of the library board, said the municipality has a general reserve fund of about $12 million, half of which is earmarked for sewage. He recommended the district set up a library reserve fund, to reduce the amount the district will need to borrow when a new library finally gets built.

“We can always borrow money from the MFA (Municipal Finance Authority), which is totally feasible and reasonable, but it’s always better to put money aside for known projects,” Murdoch said. “We don’t know what the interest will be then.”

Murdoch added there will be a survey conducted this year on municipal-owned buildings, so that the district is aware of other buildings that may need renovating or replacing.

“The police station does not even come close to the current (building) code,” Murdoch said. “Municipal hall is getting old too.”

The Greater Victoria Public Library operates 10 branches. The Emily Carr is the most recent library to be replaced, opening at its new location in Uptown in January.



Just Posted

Pedestrain struck on Quadra Street

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Quadra Street at Hulford… Continue reading

Our Place celebrates Christmas in July

Afternoon barbecue serves up turkey burgers and Santa hats under the hot sun

Affordable housing idea dead for Central Park, idea shifts to Royal Athletic Park lot

Underground parking with housing units above to be considered for existing lot

Police respond after dog left in vehicle at the movies

West Shore RCMP determined the animal was not in distress

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Former Vike returns to lead women’s rowing program

Williams rowed for UVic, Oxford and Canada

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Most Read