City of Powell River Council makes changes at library

Board membership reduced; members appointed

City of Powell River Council has made revisions to the Powell River Public Library board.

At the November 19 city council meeting, councillors voted to reduce the membership from 11 to nine. Membership is made up of one member of council and five residents or electors of the municipality, and one electoral area director from qathet Regional District and two members of the public from Electoral Areas A, B, C or D.

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Council voted to appoint councillor Rob Southcott as council’s representative to the library board. Council also voted to reappoint Amanda Hunter and Rod Wiebe for two-year terms ending December 31, 2022.

Staff has been directed to advertise one library board vacancy. Council also approved the library service agreement between the Powell River Library Board and qathet Regional District dated December 14, 2018.

At the November 17 committee of the whole meeting, corporate officer Chris Jackson said there had been a request from the chief librarian to reduce the number of board members from 11 to nine. He said council had to appoint one of its members every year, according to the Library Act, and it was recommended that Southcott continue in his capacity.

Jackson recommended that Hunter and Wiebe be extended for two-year terms.

Jackson said the library service agreement that exists between the library and regional district goes into governance and stipulations about when the regional district would pay its portion to the library. He said council needs to weigh in and approve it, which was not done in 2018.

“It was never forwarded to us so when I went through this report, I came across that and I think there is an opportunity now to make sure that is done,” said Jackson.

Mayor Dave Formosa asked why the library wants to move from 11 directors to nine.

“Are they having a hard time filling the seats? Is it too onerous?” asked Formosa.

Jackson said his understanding was that the number was at nine until 2012 just prior to the library referendum. He said at that time there was a large volume of work so the library requested two more positions.

“That was done but it isn’t required any longer,” said Jackson. “They haven’t had those other positions filled and they decided not to request them to be filled. Right now, they are operating with eight because there is a vacancy coming up.”

Southcott said board members are exemplary members of the community. He said the library board does not need 11 members now that the development work is over.

Southcott added that he is proud of the library and how it services the community. He said it has reached out to innovate and expand online services.

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