Kudos to councillor Ken Melamed for having the backbone to stay the course with the original vision for Whistler’s library.
I have to ask though, why council’s sudden squeamishness over the cost of the project? Is it prompted by the loud voice of local builders who’ve woken up at this late hour to the fact they’re suddenly hungry for a slice of this particular pie?
Whatever the reason, I can only hope the political posturing and council’s sudden back-pedalling doesn’t delay the long-overdue project any further because to my mind the new library building should be a priority, one that goes to the very heart of what defines a community.
My feeling comes not from the fact that most of the books I’d like to borrow from the library are packed into a storage shed. And it doesn’t come from the fact there is scarcely room to breathe, let alone move, in the aisles of the tiny, claustrophobic structure that currently houses the facility.
It comes from the fact that Whistler’s public library serves as a humble touchstone in an often lopsided resort environment. It’s part of the core of our community.
It’s a place you’ll find local mums and toddlers curled on cushions in corners discovering a world of literature. For free.
It’s a place you’ll find employees with a myriad of accents using computers, the Internet, drafting resumes, studying or writing letters home or simply taking shelter from the rain and timeout from overcrowded living facilities and whacked-out roommates to relish the quiet in the company of a good book, newspaper or magazine. All for free.
It’s a place you can still borrow a good video, or audiobook, or CD… for free.
And while the library seems to shrink in size under the increasing pressure of use each season, the good-natured smiles and helpfulness of the library staff have remained, incredibly, a constant.
I wonder if they’re smiling now?
If not, I don’t blame them. You can only bleed something for so long.
My voice comes nowhere close to carrying the clout of the Whistler Home Builders Association, but I’m going to throw it into the ring anyway and plead that this project not be delayed further. And that corners not be cut. This is what I pay my taxes for. This is where the money should be spent.
I can appreciate Whistler builders are hurting, especially after the loss of the Nita Lake project. I can understand if they want their pound of flesh from council. I can see they’re worried about losing income in a flattening economy and that they want to continue feathering their nests in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed. But don’t let the library become a pawn as battle lines are drawn.