Whistler public library receives funding cut from province 

The librarians behind Whistler Public Library are battling the recession with high hopes.

This week, director Lauren Stara reported to council that the library will only see a slight dip in grants from the province this year, which is better news than many other libraries across B.C. received.

"Our independent grants from the province will be reduced by a total of 1.5 per cent," said Stara. "For 2009 we will receive $54,722, which is down from $55,583."

She said the reason the decrease is so small is because the province is prioritizing grants for smaller libraries, since those are the ones where the money has the greatest impact.

The province administers the grant based on population counts. For Whistler, that number is less than 10,000, even though the resort municipality often sees an overnight population of at least 25,000.

The bad news though, said Stara, is that many of the province's library programs have been cut - including the electronic databases program, Books for Babies and the Ask Away Virtual Librarian program.

"It is mixed news, but it is not as bad as we feared and that is a blessing," she said about the latest update from the province.

Alix Nicoll, board chair, added that the library is trying to remain positive about these changes.

"We see some good things coming out of these cuts," said Nicoll. "In a way, we will have to work with our partners in the community."

Meanwhile, Stara also announced that Whistler's library continues to be a popular place for residents and tourists, with the number of active cardholders increasing from 15,000 in 2007 to 21,000 in 2008.

"If you measure circulation per capita, we are the busiest library in the province and have been for years," said Stara.

During the Olympics, the library will likely become the site of the Whistler Canada House.

The municipality is currently in discussions with the province and the Canadian Olympic Committee about that possibility. The municipality's Michele Comeau plans to present the proposal to council at the next public council meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Non-conforming house found in Brandywine

Another non-conforming house has attracted the municipality's attention.

On Tuesday evening, council voted unanimously to place a Section 57 on the title of the Brandywine Way home.

Among other things, the municipality's building inspector Joe Mooney told council that owner dug out the house's existing crawl space to create a basement.

Most of the councillors around the table said the Section 57 should be placed on title because the renovations were an obvious violation of the municipality's bylaws and pose a safety hazard.

"On a personal note, I watched this thing get constructed, and I am surpised it took as long as it did to get here," said Councillor Eckhard Zeidler.

After the council meeting, Mayor Ken Melamed added that the municipality would like to send a message to the community that people have to get building permits for this type of renovation work.

This copy for edited for accuracy March, 30, 2015.

Village to be linked by fiber optic cable

The municipality is working with telecommunications company Bell to string a fiber optic cable through Whistler Village.

Before the 2010 Winter Olympic Games begin in Feburary, the cable should be in place and link up Skiers Plaza, Mountain Square, Village Square, Town Plaza, Whistler Medals Plaza and the Telus Conference Centre.

"It is a Games legacy," said Michele Comeau, spokesperson for the municipality, this week. "Post Games we will be able to use it for broadcasting and other opportunities."

Bell is in charge of the installation, although the municipality is helping negotiate with private property owners in the village to get their approval for the fiber optic cable.

So far, the municipality has wrapped talks with two private owners.

The fiber optic cable will be mainly threaded through the village using existing underground parking lot space.


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