Kaslo will receive a new library building thanks to a Columbia Basin Trust grant. Black Press file photo

New library to be built in downtown Kaslo

The building will cost $3 million

By John Boivin

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Bookworms in the Village of Kaslo rejoice: the community is going to get a new $3-million library downtown with the help of a big grant from the Columbia Basin Trust.

“The Kaslo and District Public Library marks their 100th anniversary with the announcement of a partnership with the Village of Kaslo to see a new downtown library constructed in the next three years,” says a news release issued Sept. 16.

The new library building – the first for the library since it was formed in 1920 – will be on the corner of 5th Avenue and Front Street, across from Front Street Park and the pottery shop. Until now, the library has been in Kaslo’s historic City Hall. However, that space is just a third of the size needed to properly serve the community, officials say.

“The library board identified a need for a new facility in our strategic plan, having outgrown the current location,” said Anne Heard, library board chair. “We value our partnership with the Village in realizing our aspirations for a state-of-the art library in a prominent downtown Kaslo location.”

The purchase was made possible with a Land Acquisition Grant from Columbia Basin Trust that will cover a portion of the $300,000 purchase price. The balance will be covered through library fundraising and other grant contributions, a release states.

“We are so pleased to support the Village of Kaslo to advance their vision for a vibrant downtown core by building a new library,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust president and CEO. “Libraries are an important focal point for communities and have such a positive impact on the quality of life for residents. The new library will offer countless opportunities for community members and we’re so excited to see the building begin.”

The new library will be a cornerstone of Kaslo’s heritage downtown and a focal point of community activities and life-long learning, the release says.

Under provincial library legislation, public library associations cannot own land or buildings, so a partnership with the Village to hold the assets was necessary to move the project forward.

The library will occupy the future building through a long-term lease and be responsible for all operating and maintenance costs.

To pursue the $3 million it will need in construction costs, the library will apply to the federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure) in October.

“We are excited to be part of this significant project and look forward to seeing the new library come to fruition in the coming months and years,” said Kaslo’s Mayor Suzan Hewat, “and a big thank-you to CBT for helping us secure the property.”

The library also serves Regional District of Central Kootenay Area D residents, covering a vast service area of 5,786 square kilometres.

– Valley Voice

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