The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has identified a location for a third public library in Kamloops — in a parking lot across from Aberdeen Mall, along Hillside Drive.
The TNRD board will meet on Friday, June 18, during a committee of the whole meeting to discuss next steps in planning the library.
A report to the board notes a proposed site has been identified across the street from Aberdeen Mall. The area north of the mall backs onto Kenna Cartwright Park, has previously been utilized as overflow mall parking.
The report states the owner of Aberdeen Mall has agreed to ownership of the main floor of a strata development on that property.
“An ideal site for a South Kamloops library has been identified along the busy Hillside corridor directly across from the Aberdeen Mall as part of strata premises in a new, free standing building,” the report states. “A 25,000-square-foot library occupying the main floor would be constructed within a phased strata development, with residential units above and commercial units on the same site in an adjacent building.”
The library would be utilized for the city’s growing southwest area. The regional district’s library facilities master plan has identified a third library location in Kamloops as the top priority, as the area is expected to see significant growth and is already underserved by the system, the regional district report states.
Kamloops currently has two libraries — downtown and in North Kamloops — along with a mobile Bookmobile.
“Population growth in Kamloops is quickly outstripping the capacity of the two library buildings that currently exist,” the report to the board states. “Municipal expansion will continue in the city’s southwest and the Aberdeen community or a location immediately adjacent should be procured by the TNRD to commence planning for the Kamloops library.”
TNRD CAO Scott Hildebrand said the regional district wants to ensure the library will be located close to population growth and transportation routes to ensure community connectivity.
A mobile library service currently housed at the North Kamloops location is proposed to be moved to the new location and the downtown library would downsize slightly as a result.
Hildebrand said details have not been hammered out, but noted the regional district is running out of space in the TNRD Building downtown at Victoria Street and Fifth Avenue.
“It’ll still be a full collection, a library of this size,” Hildebrand said. “It will just be scaled [down] slightly, that’s all.”
The new location would potentially also include a drive-thru drop-off or pickup opportunity, as well as a cafe, similar to the Amplified cafe now connected to the downtown library.
The board will be asked on Friday to direct staff to commence negotiations on development of the library, as well as to pursue infrastructure and other grant funding and consult with the public.
Hildebrand said cost has yet to be determined.
Other properties that were considered:
• Land owned by School District 73 at McGill Road and Summit Drive currently utilized as a bus shed. SD73 is not interested in selling, according to the regional district;
• The former Safeway location at 945 West Columbia St., which is currently occupied by the Freshco grocery store;
• The former Greyhound location on at Notre Dame Drive and Laval Crescent in Southgate was considered for a mixed-use development, including the library, residential and offices. The development did not proceed, however, due to cost and traffic issues;
• Sahali Mall was considered, but space available did not have enough natural light nor accommodations for the mobile library. Ownership would not be available, with a long-term lease the option;
• Land above Costco, at 1775 Versatile Dr. in Aberdeen, was considered, but the owners decided they were not interested due to significant development hurdles;
• The former Milestones restaurant in Dufferin was considered, but the owner was not interested in selling;
• Land next to White Spot in Sahali was considered, but the owner was not interested in selling, instead offering a long-term lease;
• A location on Hugh Allan Drive in Aberdeen, across the street from Tim Hortons, was considered, but the owner is planning residential development.