In Depth - A new design will mean a
Published: August 18, 2010 10:00 AM
By TILLY CRAWLEY
We now have a new design for the library building — one that does everything we want it to
do. The library board is delighted with it, and we hope you will be too.
Why do we have a new design? The problem was that in 2009, when the architect prepared
the original design, he had to work with a lot coverage restriction of 25 per cent on 129
McPhillips Ave. Since only a small part of the building could be built on that side of the
double lot, most of the building had to be positioned next door on 125 McPhillips, where
the allowed lot coverage was 75 per cent. In order to accommodate all the library’s needs, a
large upper storey also had to be located above the main floor on 125 McPhillips.
The result was a rather high and towering two-storey building that seemed to overshadow
Creekside and presented a somewhat overwhelming prospect when approached from the
village. And because each storey had to house part of the library’s collection, both had to
have high library standard ceilings. A height variance would have been required since the
building would have exceeded the permissible height bylaw.
The solution was to have an amendment to the bylaw passed that would permit 75 per cent
lot coverage on both sides of the double lot. This process was undertaken during the spring,
and the Islands Trust gave final approval to the amendment on July 8. The library board
received the redesign drawings early in August, and gave formal approval at the board
meeting last week.
The redesign makes good use of the increased lot coverage on 129 McPhillips. We now have
a building that will be able to accommodate all of the library’s collection on the main floor
— a tremendous improvement for all library users.
The upper storey will be much smaller, and will house the archives and workrooms.And
because the upper storey will not have to house any of the collection, the ceiling can be
lower, and the building will not require a height variance.
We now have a library that will function well for both patrons and staff, with all of the
collection on the main floor.
And we have been able to retain the two features that were so popular from the previous
design: the open courtyard accessible from the program room and the children’s library,
and an open area with seating at the front of the building.
The bylaw amendment process has put back our schedule three to four months, but it has
been a worthwhile delay. We now have a better design for the building, a building which
has to serve the community for many years to come.
The cost to the community of the redesign is estimated to be about $40,000. We do not
expect the cost of the building to increase from the previous estimate.
The library board has submitted the redesign to the Islands Trust for a development
permit, so we can say that the project is now moving forward. The drawings showing
details of the new design have been posted in the library.