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Posts tagged ‘Saanich’

Proposal to move Emily Carr library to Uptown

The Greater Victoria Public Library is planning to move the Emily Carr branch from its current location to Uptown. I visit this branch on a regular basis with my two year old son. We visit a variety of branches but we live in Saanich and Emily Carr is the closest. We have never had any problems finding this library or finding a parking spot. We can usually park within twenty to thirty feet of the library entrance.

Emily Carr library map

The current location for the Emily Carr branch is great and I see no reason for it to move. It is close to many existing shops and restaurants; these businesses would be harmed if the library did move. The current location is owned by Saanich; there is no mortgage to pay. If the branch moved, the Greater Victoria Library would have to lease the new space from Morguard. The lease rate has not been made public. Also of note is that the Municipality of Saanich has not said what it plans to do with the old Emily Carr location.

Apparently one reason for the proposed move is that the bathrooms are in the basement and therefore inaccessible to some patrons.  The GVPL’s reasoning here is confusing, particularly as they describe the facility as being fully accessible on the Emily Carr branch web page:

Emily Carr

Why can’t the GVPL spend a small amount of money to add bathrooms to the main floor of the current location? The current space has 8600 square feet but the GVPL claims that only 6000 sq. ft. can be used for public space. The new space would have a total of 5575 square feet (this includes non-publc space). This means the GVPL could install two 200 sq. “super bathrooms” on the main floor of the current branch and still come out ahead.

The feedback survey from the GVPL is skewed towards relocation. I do not consider it genuine public engagement at all. For example, one of the questions was, “What other physical features of a library branch are most important to you? Please indicate all that apply.”  I would have clicked “bright, clean modern facility” but I feel like that would have been interpreted as favouring a relocation to Uptown. I think the current library is just fine. To me, it is a “bright clean, modern facility” with “comfortable areas for reading” and “easy to reach book shelves” and “lots of natural light”. Honestly, who designed this survey? It is obviously skewed towards getting results that will favour a move.

For the record, I am not one of those people who thinks Uptown is a monstrosity. I like it a lot and I want it to succeed. Its Aboriginal tile fountain is (in my view) the best piece of public art in the CRD. The development as a whole is far better than the old Town & Country strip mall. That said, Uptown has a lot of unleased space. Morguard needs to lower its lease rates if it is having difficulty attracting businesses. It is not the job of Saanich or the Greater Victoria Public Library to subsidize a struggling commercial development.

This relocation plan does not seem beneficial to taxpayers or library patrons. That said, whether you are for or against the library move, please take a moment to fill out the survey. They are collecting feedback until March 18th. You can also email Saanich council at council@saanich.ca.

Prospect Lake and District Community Association demands halt on the plans for sewage treatment pending cost benefit analysis

I received the following open letter via email today:

November 16, 2012

Frank Leonard, Mayor and Members of the Council: Susan Brice, Judy Brownoff, Vic Derman, Paul Gerrard, Dean Murdock, Vicki Sanders, Nichola Wade, Lief Wergeland

770 Vernon Avenue,

Victoria, BC V8X 2W7

Dear Mayor Leonard and Saanich Council,

Re: Town Hall Meeting organized by the Prospect Lake and District Community Association.

A town hall format meeting was organized and held at the Prospect Lake Community Hall on Spartan Road on Wednesday evening, November 14th. Seventy four people from the community attended to hear David Anderson, previous Federal Environment Minister, and Saanich Councillor Vic Derman, discuss the proposed GVRD sewage treatment center and it’s ramifications. Unfortunately, Councillor Judy Brownoff, a proponent for the project, refused to participate. The presentations were well received as were concerns and questions from the audience. As a medical doctor believing that sound science should overcome emotion, I was distressed that no proponent of this obviously flawed, billion dollar plus plan, would bother to participate and explain to community members what the benefits might be.

Aside from the fact that secondary treatment of sewage would in all probability be no better than the existing naturally occurring process, millions of dollars, better spent on practical needs such as social housing, medical care, rapid transit, and upgrades to infrastructure would be lost for a generation. Following the discussion, the following motion was proposed and passed unanimously.

Motion: The Prospect Lake District Community Association members demand a halt to the Proposed Sewage Treatment Plan pending an environmental review and cost benefit analysis. I hope that you, as mayor and council members, in view of available overwhelming scientific evidence, lend support to our community based concerns.

Yours Sincerely,

John Wrinch, Chair, PLDCA

cc. Saanich News, Victoria Times Colonist