Library borrowing mulled

Vancouver Island Regional Library wants to purchase the site it currently rents in Nanaimo

The Regional District of Nanaimo board has agreed to establish a capital financing service on behalf of the Vancouver Island Regional Library to borrow no more than $9,500,000 to purchase the downtown Harbourfront Library building at 90 Commercial Street in Nanaimo for the Vancouver Island Library.

The VIRL currently rents the space, but wants to take advantage of an opportunity to purchase the site.

Commenting on the issue, CAO Paul Thorkelson noted that library staff have confirmed the cost of borrowing will be offset with a reduction in rent costs in the future. As well, he said, there is an opportunity to generate additional revenue by having the ability to rent out part of the building.

Because of the size of the purchase, the RDN is required to get voter assent on the move, and so will initiate an alternative approval process to adopt a loan authorization bylaw. The estimated $608,115 cost of the debt payment will be spread out over the district and other funding agencies, with the City of Nanaimo spending $118,450, District of Lantzille spending $5,465, City of Parksville paying $18,065, Town of Qualicum Beach at $13,785 and the electoral areas paying a total of $60,750 between them.

As well, $391,600 will come from other jurisdictions.

Under the alternative approval process, if fewer than 11,253 people – 10 per cent of the number of electors in the RDN – elector approval will be deemed given.

The deadline for receiving elector response to the proposal would be at least 30 days after the second publication of the notice. Staff suggested a deadline of April 9, 2013.

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