Library site preparation begins

Two Main Street buildings will be demolished next week to allow for the construction of a new library building.

Two Main Street buildings will be demolished next week to allow for the construction of a new library building.

Michele Rule, communications manager for the Okanagan Regional Library, said crews have been at work preparing the former municipal building and a garage building for demolition.

Fencing is being erected around the site this week. The contractor for the demolition work will begin work on Monday, with the work completed to the stage of a graded site the end of next week.

Construction work is expected to begin on Monday, Sept. 15.

A hazmat team has already completed the necessary work required before the two buildings could be destroyed. The money for the new library building will come from the Okanagan Regional Library Building Reserve.

Funds for the regional library system come from taxation from each member municipality, region and band. Summerland contributes less than three per cent of this amount.

The need for a new Summerland library branch has been identified for many years.

At 316 square metres, the existing library space on Wharton Street is less than half the size needed to serve Summerland’s population.

The new building will be 743 square metres.

While the regional library system had earlier set Wharton Street as the preferred location for a new library branch, the Main Street location was chosen as there was no viable project in place for Wharton Street.

In the past decade, two different developers had presented plans to construct a large development with housing units and community spaces on a portion of Wharton Street. Both times the plans were abandoned before work was started at the site.

Tango Management has been selected as the project manager for the new library site.

During the construction period, there will be a short-term loss of parking spaces, but once the construction is completed, there will be 11 parking stalls at the site and two along Main Street due to a change to parallel parking.