Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder
The cost to operate the Gabriola library branch is expected to rise by eight per cent next year, according to Vancouver Island Regional Library.
One of the most well-used branches in the library system with 57 per cent of Gabriola residents being active cardholders, total 2024 facilities expenses are set for $123,000 and $2,000 for operating expenses. That includes the lease and utilities, business taxes, furniture, repairs and maintenance.
The branch will have the 16th highest facilities budget in the system for 2024.
The eight per cent increase includes a one-time adjustment to add in the branch’s meeting room that was introduced in 2020, but had not been incorporated until this coming budget year, according to VIRL’s director of operations, Eileen Gillette.
“Rates are generally increasing in the more rural and smaller locations at a quicker pace than larger and more urban locations,” the 2024 budget for the whole system says.
Operation of library facilities will account for 18 per cent of expenses for VIRL in 2024.
Lease fees for facilities are budgeted at approximately $2.38 million.
“VIRL is seeing the impact of accumulated inflation as long-term leases in both information technology and facilities as leases have been renewing at closer to market rates,” the budget says. It expects utilities and other facilities related costs such as security, landscaping, janitorial and telecommunications to rise by more than inflation in 2024.
The majority of VIRL’s 39 branches are leased spaces. The in-development Massett branch will bring the number owned by the library system to eight. The new facilities master plan, approved by the regional board in June, carries forward a preference for ownership over leasing. It includes considering renovating, expanding or replacing one or more rural branches and one urban branch per year.
“Lack of suitable space to lease is a key issue in many of the smaller communities VIRL serves,” Gillette said.
“Over the span of VIRL’s previous facilities master plan, this and other issues factored into the development of a small community prototype building design, along with a preference for ownership.”
Long time Gabriola resident Henry Goyert passed away in Victoria on May 6th at 97. Born in Berlin in 1924, he came to Canada in 1952 where he and his family eventually made their home in Kitimat BC. He retired to Gabriola in 1980 after spending summers there in the house he and his wife Dorothy built. Henry lived a long and fascinating life. He will be remembered by those who knew him as a gracious, fun-loving gentleman who loved Gabriola Island. He was a consummate story teller and looked for fun in everything he did. Although dementia diminished him in the last few years the essence of his personality and sense of humour stayed with him.
He is survived by his two sons, Peter (Jill) and Thomas (Cindy), his long-time close friend and partner Ann, grandchildren Josh, Stephanie and Michael as well as three great grandchildren, Jack, Sam and Zoe. He was predeceased by his wife Dorothy and grandson Ben.