by KORIE MARSHALL
On April 30th, residents from Croydon to Dome Creek will get to vote on whether to use their taxes to purchase the building at 521 Main Street as the new location for the McBride’s library and museum.
The McBride & District Public Library and the Valley Museum and Archives have co-located at 241 and 261 Dominion Street for 25 years. The two buildings offer a total of about 2,400 square feet of space, 500 of which is available to the museum for their displays.
“The current location is small and the library building and annex are old and beyond repair,” said a report to the Regional District of Fraser-fort George Board in December. The boards of both organizations have been advocating for a larger premises for several years, and the Regional District completed a study in 2015 on the best options. The study confirmed the property at 521 Main Street is both the best and cheapest of the available options.
Two bylaws to allow the creation of the service and the purchase of the building passed third reading by the board, and have been approved by the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, so will now go to assent vote (formerly known as a referendum).
The purchase price for the building and related expenses come to $668,230. The fundraising and grants received at the time of writing the bylaw totalled $47,700 which lowers the total amount to be borrowed to $620,530. With borrowing costs and an annual operating budget of $74,550, the taxation on residents in the service area would be a maximum of $27.47 per $100,000 assessed property value. For business properties, the impact would be $67.30 per $100,000 property value.
The boards of the Library and Museum have committed to continue fundraising to lessen the amount to be borrowed. In February, the Library trustees confirmed they’ve already increased the amount raised by the community to $129,000. In a letter responding to comments that fundraising so far was not a very positive indication of the community’s desire for a new library, Eunice Wentz and Stefi McLean say the community has generously supported all of their fundraisers.
One example of the support from the community is Vern Pawloske, who is nearly 71 and raised over $7,000 for the library last year by biking and hiking 200 km in one day. Pawloske says he is planning another fundraiser this summer, and is hoping to make this trip even longer. He is aiming for 500 km in one go, traveling again to Berg Lake in Mount Robson Park, then to the libraries in Jasper and Valemount before heading back to the library in McBride.
“The library means a lot to me, and is an asset to McBride and is a very busy place,” Pawloske told the Goat before his trip last year.
The library has been leasing space at 521 Main Street throughout the winter for activities and events.
Public information meetings for the proposal are set for March 30th and 31st for Dunster Community Hall, McBride Elks Hall, and the Dome Creek Community Facility.
Voting day is set for April 30th 2016, with advanced voting on April 20th. Mail-in ballots will be available for those with a physical disability, those who live more than 50 kilometers from the polling station, or those who will be away on both general and advanced voting days.
More information is available at: http://tinyurl.com/jamwdpk.