Community centre needed in Summerland

I wish to respond to a letter from Mr. Prochnau (Oct 23 2014) regarding myself and our library.

Dear Editor:

I wish to respond to a letter from Mr. Prochnau (Oct 23 2014)  regarding myself and our library. Mr. Prochnau is absolutely correct when he wrote “ in all of those nine years he (Gregory) did not make any improvements to the library”.

What he didn’t mention was that I was on several committees that were given the  task of developing a new library.

As a member of one of the user groups, we identified a total of eight government grants that would assist paying for a new complex.

One library committee convinced council to spend $20,000 for architectural drawings for a new library-community centre complex.

The architect was Cal Meiklejohn. I attempted to get approval for a new library by presenting these drawings to two separate councils, one of which included three present-day councillors.

Perhaps Mr. Prochnau should direct his questions at the councillors who rejected the library proposals.

Of the four previous library proposals, the Meiklejohn proposal made the most sense. It was a two storey complex including a community centre.

The proposed community centre was to be a multi-purpose facility for the arts as well as a mini-event centre. A community centre is a much needed facility for Summerland.

When buildings are built together, facilities such as washrooms, classrooms and meeting rooms can be shared: making it more affordable and subject to greater grant opportunities.

With the Meiklejohn proposal, the building and the property would still be owned by the municipality.

Our new library is a one storey facility. It has displaced one business, an art gallery, a potters guild and the Red Cross.

The art gallery and the potters are in new locations only until December 2015.

We lost at least 11 parking stalls on Main Street. This is a significant blow to downtown business.

No effort was made to obtain grants.

This is important: unlike the Meiklejohn proposal, the library building and land are now owned by the Okanagan Regional Library.

We still don’t have a community centre.

Summerland had better get used to using the high school gymnasium for community events. Our most realistic, affordable opportunity for a community centre has come and gone.

David E. Gregory

Summerland