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General News · 23rd May 2012
John Sprungman, SCCA President
The Library Update posted here May 22 by VIRL states:

"Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) has been unsuccessful over the past eighteen months, with the Expression of Interest process for a new library on Cortes Island. The most recent proposal made by the Southern Cortes Community Association falls outside the scope of the original Expression of Interest which was for rentable space for the library. Vancouver Island Regional Library staff has not been authorized by the VIRL Board to negotiate outside the scope of the original Expression of Interest. Regretfully, negotiations with the Southern Cortes Community Association have therefore ceased."

The "most recent proposal" from the SCCA was to offer the original site proposed in the Expression of Interest to VIRL for no compensation to the SCCA if VIRL would build the library building and pay all costs associated with a long-term lease and the development and maintenance of the site and building. VIRL’s administrators were originally prepared to recommend this proposal to their executive but now say it falls outside the scope of their EOI because the SCCA would not be charging VIRL rent. They are clearly reacting to the details of negotiations with the SCCA and of their handling of the library closure being made public.

The VIRL update adds:

“We will be recommending a Request for Proposals (RFP) process to the Vancouver Island Regional Library Board at their June 9th Board meeting,” said Rosemary Bonanno, Executive Director of Vancouver Island Regional Library. “This RFP process will allow the Board to make a decision consistent with sound procurement practices and will ensure a fair, open, and competitive process.”

What this means is that VIRL staff wants to take the process out of the public eye and back into confidential negotiations with any parties interested in competing to provide a building or land for their library on Cortes. “Open” in this context means open to anyone who wants to submit a proposal. It does not mean open to public input regarding what the Cortes library will be like or where it will be located.

The SCCA would have to submit a specific proposal with detailed conditions for there to be any further consideration of a new library being built on SCCA land. If the Library Board approves the RFP process June 9, VIRL’s staff says submissions would be required within about six weeks. If there are SCCA members who favour pursuing this option, they should communicate their willingness to work on putting together the proposal and recommend someone the board can appoint to negotiate with VIRL. The board has already stated that it would not submit a proposal to VIRL without the approval of the membership at a special general meeting. SCCA bylaws require two weeks notice for such a meeting.

In a phone conversation May 22 with Mrs. Bonanno and VIRL Director of Finance Adrian Maas, they said they were “aggressively seeking a hold/pickup location” on Cortes. Regarding a location in Manson’s Hall, she said in an email, “The Board will be guided by the Engineer’s Report. I cannot presume to second guess what their direction will be to staff. As I have stated previously safety drives this process… Staff will recommend that the Engineer’s Report be shared with the SCCA. After that it is a Board decision.”