By Alison Taylor
With little debate council Monday unanimously approved moving ahead with the new library despite a $1.2 million budget increase to the now $8.1 million project.
And they agreed to investigate a ÒgreenÓ roof option which could add $50,000 in capital costs to the building, with an annual ongoing maintenance fee of up to $8,000. It is hoped the capital cost could be absorbed in the budget or funded externally.
The increase to the budget is due to ever-increasing construction costs, a phenomenon affecting the industry across the province.
At Monday's council meeting Councillor Kristi Wells asked staff if the municipality could realize some cost savings in rising construction costs by stockpiling materials. Staff is keen to explore that option.
ÒThat is one strategy we'd like to implement,Ó said Martin Pardoe, municipal parks planner.
Wells also asked about the budget for ongoing operational costs, such as the landscaping in the nearby park and the green roof. She was told those costs will most likely be absorbed by the municipality but have yet to be accounted for in the budget.
And so, with few questions but kudos from council, the library project got the final go-ahead on Monday night with the adoption of the rezoning bylaw and approval of a development permit.
The decision was met with a smattering of applause from library board members in the audience.
Ò(I'm) absolutely thrilled,Ó said Library Board Chair Anne Townley the following day. ÒJust so excited and really pleased that it was (a) unanimous (decision)É for the budget and for the development permit.Ó
At the meeting council was once again reminded that the proposed library is a durable, straightforward and efficient design, which will meet the needs of Whistler's diverse community.
It will sit on the parking lot directly opposite the Delta Whistler Village Suites and Milestones, close to the rickety trailers that now house WhistlerÕs public library and museum.
ÒThere's nothing fancy about it,Ó said Dallas Cristofoli, a director on the library board, who was part of the presentation to council Monday.
She said its 12,000 square foot size, the use of space and the building program, are comparable to other libraries in B.C., such as those in Fernie and Squamish.