by Al Drummond It would be a travesty to put the new Powell River Public Library on the site of the old arena. This would definitely not be the best use of this land. I am sure there are many other locations in Powell River that would be suitable.
I have spoken to someone who uses the library extensively, and their suggestion was to add on to the existing city hall building. This makes sense although it may provide some parking difficulties. The other thought would be to move city hall out to the Catalyst Paper Corporation’s old mill administration office building (does the City of Powell River now own that building?), and use the current city hall building for the library.
More and more people are using their own computers for research and, with the advent of personal electronic devices that hold thousands of books, libraries in general will most likely shrink in size. It doesn’t make sense to pour millions of dollars into a new facility that over time will be used less and less. Point of fact is that the library already has a number of computers that the public are able to use for online reading and research.
Council has to be forward thinking, and using valuable waterfront property for a library would not be forward thinking. The old arena site would best serve the residents of Powell River if it was making tax dollars to widen the burden of the tax base. The zoning should be changed to allow for development by private business, keeping in mind whatever development goes there should fit in with the natural surroundings and the developer should shoulder the burden of making green spaces that are in keeping with the park-like setting.
Having a large area of gravel, that city workers spend time raking and cleaning every summer so that a flea market and a hokey carnival can go there, is just ludicrous, not to mention very obvious to taxpayers as they drive by every day. Council has the ability to change the zoning for the betterment of the community, and a few nature naysayers should not impede tax decisions that affect everybody in this community. There are many areas in Powell River for people to walk their dogs or get out and hike and enjoy nature and the outdoors. We are blessed in Powell River with this type of setting.
Please consider any new library siting very carefully and ensure that wherever it goes, it is the best use of taxpayers’ property. Keep in mind that city hall has no money or property other than what is provided by the city’s residents to manage wisely.
Al Drummond has lived in Powell River since the late 1960s and is involved in a number of community organizations.