by Paul McMahon It is clear that the old arena site does not adequately satisfy the selection criteria nor the municipal library objectives and policy statement in the City of Powell River’s official community plan.
My major concern with the new library is site location: safety and ease of access; it’s not a hub or central location; and it does not adequately best satisfy two of three Category 1 nor four of five Category 2 site selection criteria as per the 2009 new public library site selection criteria report.
The old arena site is located at the bottom of a very steep hill at a busy four-way intersection. Access to the road is dangerously close to the intersection, most probably requiring the road to be widened.
This location presents a major challenge and safety concern to users with mobility issues, cyclists and the walking public.
Ironically, the city has and is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars (Towns for Tomorrow and city hall renovations) to improve accessibility. Why would we place the public library in such a poorly accessible location?
Political and bureaucratic manipulation:
The 2010 report and recommendation modified the 2009 site selection criteria. It added a subjective criteria of “Culture and Community Aesthetic,” removed one attribute “City Property” on the basis that cost was not a factor at this point, and the attribute “brown site” was restated as “Effect on Site and Area.”
Now having taken the time and effort to create strategic adjustments, there is still no mention of attributes of accessibility. In fact, the word can not be found anywhere in the new public library report and recommendation.
Site cost comparisons:
The 2010 report and recommendations presented the top three sites, indicating that the preliminary design studies for all three sites would provide the necessary cost input to the final site selection decision.
It is my understanding that there will be no preliminary design and cost study done for the other two top choices, thus site cost factors were not and will not be a consideration for site selection.
It is difficult to visualize how the old arena site will economically accommodate level street and parking access, without additional investments in ramps, stairs, elevators and underground or rooftop parking and earthquake proofing of a multi-storey structure.
Are politicians and bureaucrats surprised when the public is upset when manipulated in this manner?
If you agree that the old arena site is an inappropriate location for the new public library, contact mayor and council. Make your views known before it’s too late.
Paul McMahon is a retired resident of Powell River who relocated here three years ago with his wife. He is concerned about the financial wellbeing of the community. He and his wife frequently use the library.