In October of 2012 the residents of McBride and area were invited to come out to an ‘idea or concept meeting’. The Boards of the Library and Museum presented those in attendance with the statistics and some ideas of how to deal with the numbers and the evolving and growing usage of the current facilities.
The McBride and District Library and the Robson Valley Museum need more space in order to serve McBride and the surrounding communities. There are still many people that like to hold a real book. Team that up with needing the space to keep up with the digital world – space for computer access, learning stations and modern programs and trends in libraries and museums around the world. In that meeting back in October, the majority of attendees agreed that McBride needed a bigger and better building to house the library and museum.
This January an open house was held to answer questions, show artist renditions of what the space could be like, and let the community know that there was a prospective building for the project. The overall cost was announced and a donation of adjacent land was offered if the initial money could be raised.
Then in April of this year a sign went up on 521 Main Street: Future Home of McBride and District Library and Museum. Since then plant sales, dances, comedy nights and other fundraising endeavors have slowly swelled the bank accounts. Unfortunately when the signs were changed once again this week, there was gnashing of teeth and more than one question asked. However we perhaps need to understand and not lose heart… a ‘for sale’ sign doesn’t mean SOLD or off the market. Sometimes it is as simple as having a ‘plan B’.
For those of you that have been following this situation closely, you will know that in order to have the necessary support from Village Council/Regional District that certain rezoning regulations need to be approved. This time-consuming process is ongoing and was on the agenda at the Sept. 24th Council meeting. Mediation is also ongoing. But the original offer to purchase between the building owners and the Library/Museum Board had an expiry date, and that has now passed.
“Shelly and I have re-listed the 521 Main Street building after the offer from the Library/Museum expired. We will allow the rezoning application to continue for now,” says owner Tom Ryan. “The Library/Museum needs the support from Village Council and Regional District so that federal and provincial grants to purchase and renovate the building would or could be made available.”
He says the other option would be for a group to purchase the building and donate it to the Library/Museum.
Al Birnie Chair of the Library Board said they remain optimistic.
“The Boards of both the McBride and District Public Library and the Valley Museum and Archives remain optimistic that our expansion into the Main Street location will ultimately be achieved.”
He says they intend to continue fundraising efforts including grant applications and negotiations with the Village and Regional District to gain their endorsement.
“The Ryan family continues to be strong supporters of this project,” continues Birnie. “Unfortunately we have not raised enough money to meet our timeline for purchasing the property and our original agreement that it be kept off the market has expired. Understandably the Ryan’s must keep their options open.”
Council was scheduled to consider approving first and second reading of the bylaws to change the status of the property so that it can be used for this new purpose at the Sept 24th meeting. Should they approve the first readings, it would move to a public hearing, and two more readings would be required.
By: Chris Parker