Library will enhance Summerland Main Street

Summerland’s new library building will have considerably more space than the existing building and it will provide easier accessibility.

Summerland’s new library building will have considerably more space than the existing building and it will provide easier accessibility, municipal council was told on Monday.

At a Committee of the Whole meeting in the afternoon, architects and representatives of the Okanagan Regional Library outlined some of the details of the new facility.

Shelley Craig of Vancouver-based Urban Arts Architecture said the one-storey building, to be constructed on Main Street at Kelly Avenue, is designed to accommodate a variety of users.

It will include a multi-purpose room, accessible from the outside, as well as various spaces within the main part of the library. An outside readers’ terrace and green spaces have also been incorporated into the design.

She said the building will enhance the block of Main Street between Kelly Avenue and Rosedale Avenue.

“It’s another vendor on the street,” she said. “There’s not much to attract people to that block right now.”

While there are other businesses on that block, Mayor Janice Perrino said the library is a busy facility.

According to library representatives, the library has 6,381 registered users and had 70,203 visitors pass through its doors in 2013.

Municipal administrator Tom Day said the new building will be more accessible than the existing building, since it is all on one level.

Unlike the present library building, the new facility will not include an additional level with public meeting spaces.

Day said the existing library building will remain in place after the new facility is opened.

Coun. Bruce Hallquist said the new building will be the Okanagan Regional Library’s facility, not the municipality’s building.

The cost of the building, estimated at $3.2 million, will be paid by the regional library system, not the municipality.

The new facility, at 743 square metres, is more than twice the size of the existing library at 316 square metres.

Summerland’s existing library is less than half the size recommended to serve the community.

Before construction can begin, the Summerland Design Committee will review the plans and municipal council must approve the proposal.

The council approval is expected at the next municipal council meeting on Aug. 25.

Work on the new facility is expected to begin by the fall, with completion expected by May 20, 2015.