This process shaped a common mission, vision, values and priorities culminating in a Strategic Plan to help guide decisions to 2015.
VIRL's mission is to enrich lives and communities through universal access to knowledge, lifelong learning and literacy and they have a vision to develop strong library branches that are vital community destinations for knowledge, inspiration, innovation, and renewal.
From my early years as an emerging reader, I've loved libraries, books and words. My family have been avid customers of the library system my whole life and I feel privileged to be a Trustee on VIRL. To see the role of libraries expanding and evolving as our culture changes thrills me.
One of the many ways that VIRL plans to meet its five Strategic Priorities is to create larger libraries that are designed for multiple usages, in locations that are accessible and environmentally sustainable. To create true community facilities where people gather and grow together.
They like to partner with others whenever possible and VIRL and North Cowichan are about to embark on such a partnership in Chemainus. VIRL will provide the building and North Cowichan the land.
Possible sites were narrowed down to two - Waterwheel parking lot and the old Chemainus Firehall. There were pros and cons to both -- supporters and detractors of each site. At the end of the day, after much public consultation, the Chemainus Advisory Committee recommended the Waterwheel Park site (VIRL'S preferred site) and on May 8th, Council reaffirmed its decision to offer that site to VIRL. Among the concerns were the loss of parking. North Cowichan will formalize parking on municipal land behind the fire hall as well as do whatever possible to draw people to the considerable street parking below Waterwheel park.
Some advantages to this site are the landscaping outside the library will add to the beautification of the square, and the flat, ready surface will allow building to start much sooner.
Anyone living in these parts knows that downtown Chemainus is struggling to reinvent itself. Tourism is no longer the bread and butter of the town, and many feel that businesses and services that cater more to locals are needed as well as those that cater to tourists.
I'm learning how hard it is to make a decision. How hard it is for people to feel they have been heard. And how many hours it takes to gather all the information in order to make an informed decision. To look at the big picture.
It is anticipated that the new library will help to jump-start the revitalization of Chemainus.
The next step in the process is a meeting with VIRL and the community to discuss what our visions of the building are -- what do we want to see in it? Once a date has been set -- I will post it on my homepage. I hope to see you there.
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