According to the Chair of the Sooke and Electoral Area Parks and Recreation Commission (SEAPARC), staff have been directed to explore the possibility of building a new library facility at the Phillips road location.
“The CRD Board has supported a SEAPARC request to have staff work with the VIRL Board to investigate the possibility of building the library facility at SEAPARC,” said Mike Hicks in a phone call to SPN.
Mike Hicks is a board member with the Vancouver Island Regional Library board, a CRD Director for Juan de Fuca, and the Chair of SEAPARC.
If Lot A (the purchased property on Wadams Way, behind Western Foods) is not a feasible option, Hicks would rather see a facility built at SEAPARC than not at all.
The SEAPARC facility, while not perfect, has many things going for it. It’s fully paid for, 24-hour security is already available, and it’s familiar (families, hockey, Fine Arts Festival, Rotary Auction, etc). It is in close proximity to EMCS (Sooke’s high school), the bike park, the soccer fields, T’Sou-ke Nation, and Sunriver; and, it is on the local BC Transit bus route. In addition, the fitness facility is looking at expanding their building and services.
Physically, the new library could be built at the front, on the grassy section facing the Sooke Region Museum. This wouldn’t impact existing parking.
The land at SEAPARC is already fully owned by the District and Juan de Fuca.
Hicks noted that the Vancouver Island Region Library board currently has six million dollars set aside for the construction of a library facility in Sooke. He said Councillor Kerry Reay, who is on the Library Board executive, has worked very hard on the Library Board to make a new library happen in Sooke.
“It shouldn’t cost the taxpayer a cent,” Hicks said.
Hicks sees great potential for Sooke. There’s the recent acquisition of the golf course on Throup, the upcoming possibly installation of turf on the soccer fields at Sooke and River Road, and now, possibly, a greatly expanded Library.
What Hicks doesn’t want is for a the new library not to be built at all.
The property (“Lot A”) on Wadams Way was purchased by the District of Sooke in February, 2016, with the intention of constructing a new library there, in the Sooke town core. The CAO announced on February 1, 2017 to Sooke Rotary that a new possibility of building a new library at SEAPARC was being considered.
The assessed property value for Lot A on Wadams way was $667,000 in 2015, $1,040,000 in 2016, and $1,206,000 in 2017. The increase, according to BC Assessment, was a result of the proposed modified land usage (the proposed library).
On April 27, 2010, Lot A was purchased for $1,200,000; on February 29, 2016, the District of Sooke paid $1,420,000.