Library location a bad decision

No one disputes that the library needs a larger facility, but at the expense of an established arts centre?

Dear Editor:

What in the world is municipal council thinking?

Why would council choose to tear down the former corporation building, transformed over the past 16 years into a pristine gallery and arts centre, and replace it with a new structure to house the library.

No one disputes that the library needs a larger facility, but at the expense of an established arts centre? Surely there were other equally viable options.

Whatever led to council’s decision — whether they actually considered other options or not — it is unlikely that we, the public, will ever really know as the grunt work was done and the deal sealed in utmost secrecy.

Summerland Community Arts Council board members were kept completely out of the loop until less than a week before the deal was finalized and then asked to keep the matter confidential.

As a result, the rest of the membership and the general public were informed virtually at the same time when the announcement was made public Feb. 20 with an orchestrated news release in front of the soon to be demolished arts centre.

The secrecy, the lack of communication and the absence of negotiation among all involved is particularly difficult to understand.

Over the past 16 years, the relationship between Summerland Community Arts Council and municipal council has been very amicable and mutually supportive.

Make no mistake, the arts council has always been very grateful for the use of the former corporation building and has always recognized council’s right to sell the building.

However, it is safe to say that the expectation was always that at the very least the arts council would have a heads up and plenty of time to relocate if the building was put on the market. We obviously had no heads-up and the date by which we must vacate the premises (June of  this year) is non-negotiable.

Finally, there’s the spin.

Julie McGuire, long-range planner for the municipality, outlined the benefits the new library would bring to the downtown core while noting that the temporary relocation of the arts centre to a store front further up Main Street would help give it additional exposure.

Echoing her sentiments, Mayor Janice Perrino stated, “I can’t begin to tell you what it (the new library facility) will do for Main Street and the economic boom it will bring. It couldn’t be better.”

Both points in my opinion are at best disingenuous. While the library is well used, it is hard to see how its new location and facility would truly result in an economic boom for Summerland.

Equally difficult to understand is how an interim location for the arts centre and gallery in an empty building best suited for a commercial venture could possibly be a plus.

As positive and optimistic as one tries to be, it is difficult to view what has transpired in the past couple of weeks as anything but a significant step backwards for the arts community.

Barbara Etter


Community Arts Council volunteer and lifetime member



Just Posted

Gas thieves using spigots to help themselves again and again

Gas thieves drilling holes in vehicle tanks and inserting spigots or screws

Vee’s captain leads Penticton to 4-1 home-ice win over Merritt

Owen Sillinger leads Vees to victory over visiting Centennials

Okanagan a hot spot for film industry

Despite wet, smoky year Okanagan attracts $30 million in film production

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

Albas takes on mortgage changes in town hall

Conservative MP mostly echoed chamber of commerce concerns but sparred with one attendee on details

What’s happening

Find out about events happening in your community this weekend

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

RCMP nail alleged sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Loaded shotgun found in vehicle during Okanagan Falls traffic stop

Okanagan Falls man facing a number of weapons related charges

Most Read