VIRL moving library out of beloved Masset cabin

  • Oct. 20, 2015 8:00 p.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverThe Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) has declared the Masset Library as unfit for their needs and are now looking for land on which to build a new structure.Masset’s branch of the VIRL was identified during the five year plan as being in need of substantial renovation. In light of the cost to remediate the existing facility, due to the age of the building the VIRL Facility Manager has suggested the Village provide land at no cost, on which a new library could then construced.VIRIL also suggested the village may want to consider a multi-use municipal building in which the library could share space.The village has just thrown the idea of a multi-use facility and have no plans to start the project yet. During the facility manager’s visit to Masset, they had identified some potential sites for a new building. The ideal location would be a standalone facility, located at the old hospital site on Hodges Avenue. This is the ideal location because it is already cleared andserviced, has an existing parking lot and is close to downtown. The second possibility is the vacant lot next to the existing branch, which has much of the same appeal to the VIRL.A portion of the old military building site was also identified as a potential but less desirable location. Potential issues with this area is the site’s unknown condition. VIRL was uncertain of the availability of municipal services. Mayor Merilees did point out that the Village of Masset is part owner with Old Massett of the old hospital site, to which Old Massett would have to be involved in order to make this site work for the project. The existing Jessie Simpson Memorial Library in Masset will be repurposed, not destroyed Mr. Merilees said. “There is a lot of love for the libraryÂ… there are no plans to do anything with that building as of tearing it down. We will be finding other uses for it, the new library would also be called Jesse Simpson’s library, so we won’t be getting rid of any of that heritage, but the building is just not suitable for a library,” Mr. Merilees explained to council. The building was deemed unsuitable for use as a library by the standards of VIRL. During their assessment they found the exterior is showing significant signs of deterioration in the logs and the roof system. The interior logs are showing signs of checking and there is some deflection of log beam support in various areas. Based on the movement of the floor structure and lack of vapour barrier it is likely that the floor does not meet VIRL’s load-bearing requirements of 150 pounds per square foot. The Vancouver Island Regional Library will move their facilities or switch over to books by mail if a suitable location can not be found. Village council has not made any decisions on where the new facility will go. They hope to have something to go back to VIRL with by Oct 26. The council and mayor would like community involvement with the decisions around the future library.  The village welcomes all comments into the process to identify a new location for the Jessie Simpson Memorial Library. Comments can be delivered to the Village office or emailed to

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