HomeNewsOops, we did it again: The District plays whack-a-mole with the Sooke Library    


Oops, we did it again: The District plays whack-a-mole with the Sooke Library — 88 Comments

  1. Libraries are already seeing reductions in visitors, they need to be put in easily accessible places for families. SEAPARC isn’t within walking distance for most people, and it’s not exactly right on the main bus route. I think that location would be a bad decision.

    • Interesting. When I’ve spoken to people in the library field they’ve shared that it’s a challenge to stay relevant and attract new visitors. Perhaps nationally that’s not the trend – which would be good news.

      Doesn’t negate the fact that libraries need to be easily accessible.

    • Yes busses run…. but lets remember that ayer manor has many seniors that walk tonthe store and frequent the library….by foot. Now they will have to open up their already tightened budgets to bus to the library?

    • And there are lots of families and kids and seniors that walk by or go to seaparc and thus could do everything at one time. There are pluses and minuses to any location. For some people it would be more convenient but not for others.

    • Katie McLaughlin hum well been around librarians and trustees for thirty years and yup there are challenges and one of them is the misconception that usage is down for public libraries. There is a reason that a new branch is under consideration in this town.

    • Well that’s great then Lee. Glad to hear it. It’s unfortunate that the town has already spent so much money focusing on another location that is more central and accessible. Just my opinion. Seems like a waste of taxpayer funds. We’ll see what happens I suppose, I’d just like to make sure the community has a say.

    • “Similar growth was documented in Canada, where overall library usage surged 45% between 2000 and 2009, including a 16% increase in book borrowing.”
      This is a quote from the Wikipedia article.
      The graph at the top is for University of Toronto libraries. Let’s do this with the facts that are congruent with the nature of our library.

    • Kate Andrzejewski I did not post the graph, FB did as it was the first graphic on the website I posted. I expected that people would look at the whole details of the article to find the appropriate Canadian references.

  2. OK I think thats about enough of CAO Sullivan and Councillor Reay screwing up and wasting the money of the Sooke taxpayer. Yer both FIRED! How can these councillor members just go along with these hair brained ideas? Maybe if Sullivan spent any time in Sooke she would have known about the hazards on that property. No excuse for Reay and Kasper. Granted they can’t know everything but why don’t they listen to residents that come to meetings with information instead of walking out?

  3. It needs to be centrally located! ! So many people who are handicapped and can’t get around,people with small children who don’t drive etc.. Wadams way is an excellent place to have it, seaparc is already too busy as it is can barely find parking there

  4. My concern, at this point, would not be about the location of the new library but about the fact that the taxpayer of Sooke is left holding the bag on this one! 1.42 million for a swamp. Brilliant. Heads should roll on this one.

  5. The property on Waddams was the first wise choice or hint of a plan that the town has shown in ages. They could build central facilities there that would enhance our town core and serve the community in such a great way. The idea that they would give up such an opportunity is infuriating.

  6. Correct me if I am wrong. But I read somewhere that developers would not buy the property at the for sale price because the cost to develop it would be to high for them to get a decent return on there investment.

  7. It never ceases to amaze me. A bunch of clowns running a community into the ground. So glad to be out of that mess. I would be infuriated seeing my tax dollars go to such a disorganized group of self serving individuals. It’s called due diligence people. It’s your job to do it. Ugh.

  8. SEAPARC would be STUPID!! If we need a new library , which we don’t, it needs to remain in the downtown core!

  9. This is disappointing. The library should remain in the Sooke core. The previous location provided huge potential for accessible community space. The SEAPARC location is not accessible for all. Very disappointing news.

  10. Who owns the current library land? Can we build upwards on that site with underground parking? There are library’s built on much smaller footprints.

  11. Council members were all informed about the plans that the community spaces group were entertaining after many volunteer hours speaking and hearing from many community groups.
    The plan we suggested was that we close Eustace rd at Otter pt. rd., take down the tin grotto and the houses behind it( better spent money than the swamp), and VIRL could buy the 3 houses next to the Legion, which back onto Ayre Manor( great for the seniors) and put the Library there and I’m sure that land purchase and building should not exceed their $6 Mill budget. Now we would have the community hall, the legion, a coffee shop and icon Moms all around our old town square, where there could be the country market, open concerts, theater and a lovely seating area with attractive landscaping, perhaps a fountain in front of the library and traffic flowing through down the west Eustace to Gatewood, where traffic could either go left to West Coast rd or right on Gatewood( a registered roadway) to Grant rd. But, it seems the golden castle and it’ royalty have loftier and more knowledgable plans and than the great unwashed. Well, I say too, Fire them. This has been a gross mismanagement of our tax dollar. We were told by the CAO that the $4.2 million was surplus monies. Well if this was so, why did we borrow $4.2 million and what are our interest payments and what does it add to our taxes and why if this was not planned on the budget, was it spent in the first place. Sure doesn’t fit with Council strategic plan as financially responsible or transparent either.
    How long must we tarry at our work to pay for all this blundering from the Feds to the Prov to Municipal govt. I am all for initiative, referendum and recall.

  12. The graph cited above is for the University of Toronto’s Libraries. If you read further down in this Wikipedia article you will find the following quote “Similar growth was documented in Canada, where overall library usage surged 45% between 2000 and 2009, including a 16% increase in book borrowing.”
    A new larger library is required in Sooke to service our burgeoning population; locating it centrally would benefit the majority of Sooke’s citizens. If the council purchased land without due diligence then they should face the consequences (recall, or vote them out in the next election.
    Seaparc is just not a good enough answer – it’s like building a lean-to on the back of the house rather than erecting a quality structure.

  13. Wow. There is a significant lack of foresight and long term planning in the decision making of our current council. This could’ve been avoided if council had undertaken the standard practice of analyzing the entire cost of the project from start to finish. This mismanagement is costing us as taxpayers and preventing us from directing our limited funds towards worthwhile and desperately need infrastructure improvements.

    I hope all readers note that this decision was made while Reay and Kasper were acting mayors. Sadly this means that no one party is to blame, but the council as a whole.

    Please remember this at the next election.

  14. Council does not support the library being relocated outside of the Sooke core. It’s most important that it’s accessible to all. VIRL requested shovel-ready land for a single storey building, but the square footage didn’t work with the land that was available. When presented with options for 2-storeys on smaller lots in the Sooke core, VIRL refused them. Now, they are considering multiple storeys at SEAPARC. We are all excited about Lot A. Not only is it a place where 20% of the land can be used to house the library in the core, but it is also a great place to build a town centre that Sooke can be proud of. My vision is to have the library located on Lot A and to use the remaining 80% of the land to address the needs of the community as set out by the years of work done by the Community Centre Committee. This lot needs work, yes. But the work pales in comparison to what we can end up with. My vision is to have office and retail space with affordable housing units above. These units could surround a town square, where people can gather, play, and easily access the amenities of the town centre. There is so much potential that we can’t lose sight of.

  15. Wouldn’t it be lovely if people sought out factual information and contacted these so called awful council members to ask what is going on? This post has quotes from the library board, yet nothing from the district or its councillors? Our phone numbers and email address are public information, heck all of us are on Facebook too. It’s disappointing to continually read about the negative, Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could focus and post the positive? If people did some research on their own instead of being blindly lead down a path? As Ebony stated, Lot A is the best and preferred choice for the library, but we as a council cannot force them to build there, It is up to the library board to decided. They asked us for land, we had an opportunity to purchase 5 acres in the town centre, not only for a library but for future community needs. The district offered space on this land to the Vancouver Island Library board, and now they would like the district to pay hundreds of thousands to make it shovel ready? As tax payers we already pay more than $400,000 a year for the library we have in sooke. Quite frankly I’m not in favour of paying more.

    • Bev Berger Sooke Councillor $400k strikes me at first glance as too much for library service. Lets say $180K for 3 employees (It’s a nice easy job located in your own home town so I don’t think 60K a yr is unreasonable including benefits etc). That leaves $220K a year for book aquisition, property maintenance, taxes, property financing etc. Those things should probably cost less than half of that.

      Is there somewhere you know of where we can see details of what we are getting for that $400K? Is there a local budget for our branch of the VIRL? Can we operate our own library and contract for just the book exchange service with the other regional libraries?

    • So, you went ahead and bought land that wasn’t approved by the Vancouver Island Board? Why is it that every builder knows about that land and wouldn’t buy it but you thought better of it and now we are stuck with expensive and unusable land? It was a good dream but now you see that it is too expensive to make it happen. Please quit spending our tax money without more planning. I’ll bet if Mr. Haldane was still on council this wouldn’t have gone ahead! But thanks for actually making a comment on this page, though interesting that you chose to scold the residents for lack of information when councils lack of due diligence is the real problem.

      • I would strongly suggest you contact Mr. haldane, a lot being said with opinions and half truths. This property is an excellent location and as you all know that the current zoning of one single family residence, was where the doubt was about value. My fellow councillors and I believed then and now that this property will be invaluable in the future. Look at other posts on this page and the purchase of multiple property to try to accomplish something similar. This is 5 acres in our down town core, I know every one thought the same as me not that long ago driving down Jacklin Rd across from Canwest, too bad that swamp is in the middle of Langford…. The current home to multiple business and west hills arean a bowling alley and a ” World Class ” home to Rugby Canada Facilty. Other headlines today single family home average in Sooke 471k , on a 400 sq meter lot, 5 acres of town centre property @ 3 x average home in Sooke. We the people of Sooke have been promised a new library since 2005, I am on record of wanting it in the town centre, 10000 sq feet will leave 4+ acres for ???? Critical care centre? Parking for john Phillips park? Seniors/youth centre? Easily walkable? Surrounded by access? Place of centre? Unfortunately focusing on the negative will always give you that, I say what if it’s positive, look at my face book post of the grade one class Sooke Elementary School 1964, I was in the front row, I believe in Sooke and I love my town, where I have raised my children and where they are raising their children, you really believe I don’t want the best?

    • it would appear you bought the peoperty specifically for the library, especially whenyou approached them to build there. that is after they requested shovel ready land which this is not. if you cant afford to prepare it to shovel ready for a library where is the money going to come from to develop it for anything else

    • Michael Greer It’s just a guess. I need to see the budget although I’m not confident the number of FTE employees will be included there. How many employees does it take to run a small library in your estimation?

      • Excuse me, but Kerrie Reay is one of the people that did not do due diligence and should be turfed out of office, along with the CAO and anybody else connected to this fiasco that has lost the taxpayers of Sooke an incredible amount of money and once again made fools out of everyone who voted them into office.

        • Yes, well said Thomas. Reay was recently elected as Sooke’s VIRL council rep. I don’t know who voted for her but I wish I could have voted. She would be gone! And if she had any class she would quit the post after this disconnect with the Library committee.

    • Looking at the budget, 50% of the 33 million annual budget is staffing cost. So our $400K should be about 200K in staff costs. I guessed $180K so I wasn’t far off. How many FTE employees that equates to I have no idea.

      An interesting fact is that the VIRL system saw 2.6 million visits in 2016. If you divide the budget of 33 million by the number of visits you get a cost of approximately $12 – $13 per visit. For $12 – $13 a person can buy a book, so I need some convincing as to the value of having a library at all.

      As a thought experiment, lets say instead of giving $400k a year to the VIRL, Sooke instead gave that money to it’s citizens. With a population of 13,000 that is $31 a year for every man woman and child. My family of 4 would receive $124 to purchase books etc for the year.

    • Kyle Topelko maybe go to a budget meeting and ask questions..or just make up your own assumptions to where the money goes. ..cleaning , electrical , sewer, internet, computers, insurance , etc….the only point you are correct on is ” you have no idea “

    • My estimate was very close, so I do have a good idea. I said I didn’t know how many full time equivalent employees that equated to, which is not contained in the budget of VIRL which I have taken the time to read. The 400k was what Bev mentioned, however the figure is 562k this year. Anyway, thank you for once again taking the time to write a constructive comment. I always value your thoughtful input….

    • It doesn’t matter how many employees, what matters is that 49% of the VIRL budget goes to wages and benefits. The number of employees is not public information, so we are left to “gasp” estimate what it would take to run the local library branch as a starting point for discussion. Perhaps instead of being unkind you could offer helpful and constructive information.

  16. The point is , we already have a town square available on Eustace , which has always been the community hub. The last square , ED Mcgregor park was also based on emotion rather than practicality. A lot of money spent on a square which is just beyond the center and parking neglible Community spaces & parks committee , consisting of long time residents who care where they live, proposed some common sense solutions, but they were dissolved, and nothing in their place, even though council put out a request for their newly developed committees, it seems that council members aren’t prepared to sit on them. Soooo , the money was spent on advertising, staff time to prepare and nothing happened. Seems like public input is not wanted somehow. When will they ever learn?

    • Ellen, I love your enthusiasm look at what you proposing. Eustace Rd? Maybe 1 acre, no parking, what are you prepared to any to make that work? The Lot “A” is 5 acres and road frontage on 3 sides, in our town core, I have lived here for almost 60 years, and have yet to see a better town centre that is available than the Lot A . I walked the entire property on several occasions. And have always recognized this a a value for our future, where else could we find without multiple purchases this significant of a piece of property, I recognize I am only one of 7 votes but I stand behind my agreement of this. We desperately need options to deliver many public requests now and in the future.

  17. If they put it at Seaparc where would the parking be? Have you ever tried to access Seaparc on a weekend when hockey games are taking place and perhaps a birthday party in the pool added with rainy weather so that it seems everyone in Sooke is swimming you are lucky to get a space, never mind adding a library. I hope the tax payers of this community have long memories at voting time I know I do and very few of this council including the mayor will get my vote as for our CEO that’s another mess altogether. The harm she has done to this community is immeasurable and she and her cohorts need to be gone.

  18. Not fond of the idea of placing library at Sea Parc………enough going on down there……the library should be near the core…..more accessible……very disappointing news!!!!!!

  19. Libraries need to be accessible. For the elderly, the homeless, children, and people with disabilities. This is not the place it should be. I understand the appeal of making SeaParc a large, established place for everything, but the library has to be centrally located. The busses that go to SeaParc are paired with a hill, that makes it inaccessible for a lot of people, and the community bus runs infrequently.

  20. What’s wrong with the old RBC Bank site that burned down, at the entrance of Evergreen Shopping Centre? Surely there is enough room there. Lot’s of parking and definitely in the center of downtown. Seems to me that it is just common sense. Sooke might not own the land but I am sure that a long term lease could easily satisfy any concerns – surely much cheaper than what the Taxpayers of Sooke have already lost.

  21. Sooke taxpayers pay almost $600,000 a year for the library service and on top of that, Juan de Fuca region residents pay their fair share of the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s $35.6-million budget for 2017. We have a 3900 sq ft building and VIRL has been saying that a new library for Sooke has been a priority going back as far as 2006 at least — 11 years have gone by and we still do not have a new library. The District worked with VIRL on the land issue because VIRL could not find something suitable. Their request for expression of interest was offered to the private sector to come back with options for shovel-ready land that VIRL could purchase. As nothing that met their needs came forward from the private sector, and DOS had the opportunity to purchase the 5-acre parcel, we went ahead with that purchase and offered a portion of the site to VIRL. If VIRL was prepared to pay the private sector for a construction-ready site, then in all fairness they should treat Sooke taxpayers the same way. By providing them with land wouldn’t you expect the VIRL to meet us halfway and not come back and demand further costs to have Sooke taxpayers pay for site prep? This is shifting the goal posts in a big way. The District of Sooke even supported VIRL’s $6 million borrowing from the Municipal Finance Authority to build the Sooke library. VIRL has stated in a Q&A fact sheet that the 10,000 sq ft library will cost $3.5 – $4.5 million to build including the cost of furniture, equipment and books. http://virl.bc.ca/sites/default/files/documents/Q-A-New-Library-Sooke.pdf. That leaves $1.5 million for other costs that they have available to develop the site. It would be irresponsible of the District of Sooke to shovel out up to an additional $800,000 of taxpayers’ money for site prep when the VIRL already HAS THE MONEY to do it. Council has made it clear that we would prefer that the new library be built within the town centre area. The ball is in their court. It’s VIRL’s responsibility and they have the money. The stall has been going on too long. There are many good suggestions raised here about other sites in the core area and as Councillor Logins mentioned, VIRL did not consider them because the sites were too small and the only way to accommodate them with parking was to have a 2-storey building which they stated on numerous occasions that they did not want because of additional staffing costs. My fear is that Sooke may now get shortchanged and some of that $6 million will be spent elsewhere when this funding was intended for Sooke’s new library. I hope their discussions with SEAPARC go well. With respect to the issue regarding the land, as other councillors have stated, Sooke taxpayers own a prime 5-acre parcel in the town core for future use and development.This property was earmarked for development in the Sooke Town Centre Plan done in 2010 and there is much potential for the vision of Council and others regarding this site.

  22. Sooke pocket news needs to stop spinning stories as an attack on District staff and council and/or adding innuendo so that those that just want to publish negativity and attacks have a venue. It sure would go a far way to stopping the flow of misinformation. The rest of your coverage of events in and around – love it.

    Council, all of you, thank you for your many years service. Lot A will become the great site you envision.