The library in Ballard, Wa. Built in 2005 at a cost of just under $11 million, the Ballard Library features an innovative “green roof” consisting of native grasses and sedums planted 4 to 6 inches deep in a custom growing medium topped with a biodegradable coconut fiber mat. Image and Text from: http://weburbanist.com/2008/12/10/clever-creative-modern-library-architecture-designs/?ref=search
Facebook event page: click here
(UPDATE related to this post: https://rabideye.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/the-petition/)
The said update contains:
I just want to reclarify that when I wrote the blog post “The Library” on Feb. 18, 2012, the petition I reprinted was sent to me (as I said) and I was not sure this was the only one circulating (as I said). It turns out that the petition that has since been the “official petition” of the group since formed calling itself “Save Willingdon Beach” is not the same as the one I had responded to (which ended up actually being a letter to Council- Ed.). It was February 17th and what came to be the “official petition” was really not yet being circulated, I don’t think.
and on with the sad spectacle….
I won’t go into the detailed benefits of having a functional and beautiful library in a town like Powell River, because I could go on and on.
The benefits are so numerous: social cohesion (we could use it for gatherings and meetings as opposed to meeting at grocery store cafes), artistic expression (art on the walls, sculpture garden, art as part of the building itself, book readings, kids activities with room for them and the adults), and learning (from books, DVDs computers, etc.)
Even in huge cities like Seattle and Vancouver, libraries form important cultural hubs that enrich and enliven the areas they are in. What a proper library can do for Powell River fills me with excitement and joy.
That there is a “Save Willingdon Beach” campaign/ petition (see below) against building the library at the current chosen site on one underused section of Willingdon Beach (which was used as a site for the three basic designs that were produced from the community-guided design charette and subsequent public unveiling) is disheartening.
So, I want to respond this petition (there may be several, but this is the one I was sent by a lovely person who is against the library at that site). Here it is in italics with my personal responses in green. I urge you to make your ideas known to the City Council. Contact info here.
The Petition against the building of a new Powell River library at the Willingdon Beach site appears below in black letters; my response to these 10 points is in green.
We, the undersigned, who hold library cards (!), STRONGLY OPPOSE the placement of any new library at the old arena site near Willingdon Beach for the 10 reasons below. We would like a response from City Council Members that will explain to us why these concerns seem to be of little importance to them in the choice of a site for a new library.
- It will be very difficult for those with mobility issues to navigate down and up the steep hill on Alberni Street from residential areas, and from the most frequented commercial area in town, which is Joyce avenue, between Alberni & Burnaby.
This is an opportunity to actually make that area newly accessible to those with mobility issues—to give real impetus to make that park accessible. Remember that with an indoor space, people with mobility issues will have benches , tables, chairs, couches, etc. and can for the first time enjoy the area both inside (protected from the elements) and outside, sheltered or unsheletered. If it stays how it is, it remains inaccessible to those with mobility issues.
2. The Library Board’s assertion that mobility-challenged people without cars will just have to bite the bullet and take the bus to go to the library, and take the bus again to get home, and a is a form of discrimination of which this disability-friendly town should be ashamed.
Taking the bus is discrimination now. Whew. People with mobility issues and no car currently get around walking using canes, crutches, walkers and wheelchairs… maybe even Pedicab, soon. The bus is a viable option. They are clean, cheap and terribly underused. Not everyone lives around the current library or the mall, after all, so to suggest that getting to the mall is a ‘cakewalk'(pun intended) for all is also wrong. So, many people in our diverse and hilly town and outskirts do have to use the bus to get to the library where it is now as well. There are many ways the entrance to the library can work (there may be two: one from Marine and one from below); it’s good to keep an eye on that issue, but to not build a library because of it is extreme.
3. If anywhere, a new library should be placed closer to the center of town, than its current location — closer to the Town Centre Mall, Crossroads Mall, Post Office, Hospital, and other Joyce Avenue businesses (the space beside the RCMP comes to mind), so that it is easier for all people to do their town chores with the least expenditure of gasoline, time and personal energy.
The “center of town” this petition refers to is the mall. I feel that just because the mall christened itself “Town Centre Mall” doesn’t necessarily make it so, but I catch the point. The Marine Avenue area near Willingdon Beach (zoned for civic use, not necessarily for park use) for me represent the heart of Powell River, accessible from the ferry terminal via a lovely walk down , facing a beautiful view — not an ugly parking lot and busy street, which it would at the mall– is where the library should be as a cultural (not commercial) icon to learning and the arts. That area needs revitalization and is perfect for tourism, and is already used for many festivals and summer markets. Artique, Breakwater Books and many other galleries and bookstores are there. It’s an obvious choice to me.
4. Placing a two-story building at the old arena site will take away the last remaining unimpeded public view of the ocean that town folk and visitors have left in our town. Please, don’t tell me that a citizen will have to have a library card or a job at the library to enjoy that view, because that would be unfair to the many local residents who won’t.
Powell River jealously guards its beautiful views, and rightfully so. Two of the three designs presented were one-story buildings built on a downward slope, leaving the view from the road basically and potentially as clear as it is now, so people whizzing by in their gas-guzzlers can take the view in for those 2 or 3 second. Hurrah!
PLUS, people will have greater access to that walkway from the street as well, if the design provides access from Marine Ave. as well. The zoning regulations as presented at the public consultation on the design of the new library show that something like 2/3 of the area cannot be built on, which will leave lots of space to walk, play, etc. When we should be guiding the democratic design process, the mood is poisoned by petitions. The library is open to everyone, and anyone can get a library card. The views will be all of ours. The library is public and communal and non-commercial.
5. Rather than as a location for a civic building, the land has much greater value as a place for townsfolk and visitors to commune with nature, and take in our extraordinarily beautiful view across the Georgia Strait, a stunning panorama that changes across the day, from day to day, from season to season.
That unusable parking lot that is there now (old arena footprint) is NOT where people commune with nature now. Just like the huge yellow “Save Willingdon Beach” is misguiding, this line of reasoning lacks imagination. Yes, the land has great value, and that’s exactly the reason to build a library there and not commercial buildings which you can only imaging developers eyeing in regards to condos– and they won’t be single-story ones either, rest assured. The land would need to be rezoned to allow this to happen.
6. Placing a two-story building at this location will ruin the view from Breakwater Books and its café, which will not be good for readers in this town.
Breakwater Books should only be so lucky to have a library at that site. This could encourage it to stay open later and on Sundays. I would like to hear their view on this. It can only increase business and if you actually look through their windows, there is zero way that anything less than a 5-story block would obscure their view– and even then, it would have to be about 3 times as wide as is legally permitted on that site. “Not good for readers in this town” to not have a view from a bookstore (assuming the view would be blocked, which it can’t)– meanwhile it must be assumed that the logic here leave to “NOT HAVING A PROPER LIBRARY IS GOOD FOR READERS”.
7. Ruining this view will be bad for business for Breakwater and other Marine/Alberni Corner businesses that will lose their views from a business cluster that may be the last viable location on Marine Avenue, as our economy shrinks.
“Bad for business”. The land is on a slope. The library (if it is built on one level, which I think people generally want) there will be no obscuring of the view. And to think that businesses on Marine will mourn the extra foot traffic going through there is … let’s say ‘misleading’. The library there would breathe new life into precisely that area!
8. There are many in this town who will miss the use of this space for the carnival at Sea Fair.
I spoke with the woman who ran Seafair (and continues to work hard to make it happen), and yes, they desperately want the fair along the seaside. I asked her if she’d ever stepped foot into another library, anywhere. She said no. Our town needs a proper library. There are other areas along the seaside. It’s a seaside town. To hold the citizens hostage for a 3-day carnival — one that just has to be in that specific spot to function — a place that is largely unused the rest of the year (except for grafitti and as a kitty litter box/dog run with million dollar views) is not right.
9. Placing the library at the edge of the ocean will certainly require increased energy usage to dehumidify the interior 24/7/52 to protect the paper books, at a time when we are all trying to reduce energy use, and we are threatened with much higher electric bills with the forced installation of “Smart” Meters.
To me, that’s the single interesting design argument here. It would definitely need to be a design consideration to make sure the humidity is not a problem. There seem to be many ways to do this without dehumidifiers. http://www.wbdg.org/resources/moisturedynamics.php Mixing the “Smart” meter issue here is baffling. Anyhow…
10. There has been no Regional Referendum regarding site choice, based on entirely fallacious reasoning. This so-called reasoning claims that:
– the site must be chosen – the architect’s plans drawn up based on that site, and the funding achieved based on that site and those drawings
BEFORE a referendum can be held regarding the regional residents’ opinions about site choices. However, this so-called reasoning simply makes no logical sense. It certainly is not ethical. To borrow a recent quote, “In our view, this would be a serious tactical error.” Obviously, the referendum must come BEFORE the site choice.
It’s my understanding that there have been three referendums over the last 20 years on this library. None of them allowed a new library to be built. In order to gain funding the plan must be offered up for consideration, and must be relatively ready-to-go. Council has the authority to choose a site. The referendum will be on the cost of the library, which can only be known once the external grants or matching funds are knows.
It looks a lot like it’s a chicken-and-egg situation, and that’s unfortunate, as I agree that in a perfect world, everything would be transparent and voted on… but we need to move on. Not letting the library move past this design process (for which $70,000 has already been spent) will mean no library for who knows how long; maybe never. The petition people are focusing on the site, as if that’s in question, and that the library would destroy the beach for everyone. And that’s just unfathomable to me. And dishonest.
In the end, while there was money (or at least a willingness to go further into debt) to rebuild wharfs that will serve the wealthy really well, and supposedly bring tourists, but there will probably be no will to invest in something that everyone can use and that will raise the bar around here; but as the woman at the last public consultation yelled “We’re not city people”, which I guess means we will never get a library because learning’s not for us.