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Regional library turns down Cedar location

Cedar won’t be getting a Vancouver Island Regional Library Branch anytime soon.

The decision to turn down, a least for now, a request for a branch in Cedar was announced at a recent regional library board of trustees meeting.

Cedar’s proximity to branches in Ladysmith and Nanaimo, eight new library branches built over the past two years, plus about 30 other branches now in need of upgrades or repairs were cited as reasons for the denial.

Alec McPherson, Regional District of Nanaimo director for South Wellington, Cassidy and Cedar, said the request for a library branch was submitted in September with a report detailing Cedar’s eligibility for a library branch.

McPherson said Cedar met all the criteria for one to be created in Cedar Village Square.

“In our particular case, we had a place for them to go and the rent for that particular place was dramatically low, given the rest of their branches. It was well below the norm,” McPherson said.

He also pointed out Cedar’s growing population already meets the minimum level needed for a library branch and the distances from Cedar Village Square to existing branches in Ladysmith (about 21 kilometres) and downtown Nanaimo, which is just over 9 km.

“Eighty per cent of the population the Cedar branch will serve are technically in the Nanaimo area and we’re just about to open in the spring the new north branch, so we have quite a bit of representation in Nanaimo that we need to fully utilize,” said Natasha Bartlett, regional library spokeswoman.

Opening date for the $8.6-million Nanaimo North Branch is loosely set for spring 2014.

The regional library’s central services will also be consolidated into the building from their current Poplar Street and Boban Road locations.

Bartlett said the regional library also allocated some of its 2013 budget to  investing in e-resources, such as e-books, music and even an e-librarian to help service people in rural areas such as Cedar. The library also offers a call-in line and books by mail.

The decision to not build a library branch in Cedar is also not a done deal.

“The key is it’s not an ended discussion,” Bartlett said. “It’s just that we need to get some things finished first before we can go through it.”

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