‘Skyrocketing’ construction costs put new Campbell River library on hold: VIRL

'Skyrocketing' construction costs put new Campbell River library on hold: VIRL
Nicholas Pescod/CHEK News

A brand new library in Campbell River won’t be going ahead as planned — at least not any time soon.

Vancouver Island Regional Library trustees recently voted to not move forward with the construction of a brand new downtown library branch in Campbell River due to “skyrocketing construction and labour costs” stemming from the ongoing pandemic.

VIRL has been planning to construct a brand new two-storey, 20,000 square-foot library on Shoppers Row, replacing the existing library building. A total of $14 million had been budgeted for the project, with $9 million allocated for construction.

As a result of the board’s recent decision, the library will continue to operate out of the existing building on Shoppers Row for the next year on a month-to-month lease.

Gaby Wickstrom, the regional library’s board of trustees chairperson, called the decision a difficult but fiscally responsible one.

“This was certainly a difficult decision,” Wickstrom said in a press release, adding. “But we could not, being fiscally responsible, move forward with this project under the current construction and labour markets.”

Planning for a new library in downtown Campbell River first began in 2019. VIRL says over the next 12 months staff will examine options to revive the new library project in the future.

“A new library as a cornerstone of Campbell River’s downtown core and cultural district remains a priority for us. The difficult reality is it simply is not the right time to move forward with a project of this size and scope,” Colleen Evans, VIRL Trustee and councillor with the City of Campbell River, said in the release.

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