Library/museum to cost $9.5 million 

Whistler’s long-awaited library/museum facility will cost close to $9.5 million to build and open in 2004, according to the development proposal put forward by the B.C. Building Corporation and accepted by council Monday.

A two-storey, 27,000 square foot building with 40 underground parking stalls is envisioned on the Main Street site where the library and museum currently occupy a number of portable buildings.

BCBC has been working on building concepts for the municipality and the library and museum boards, but an actual design for the building has not yet been developed.

The project will require a significant financial commitment from the municipality and the community. The capital budget is split evenly between the municipality and the library and museum boards. The municipality has committed $4.25 million to the building over the next three years. The library and museum boards will fund-raise over the next year to get the $4.25 million they are responsible for, but must secure at least $3 million before construction can start. Construction is expected to take place over 2003-2004.

The new facility will also require an annual municipal commitment of approximately $750,000 for operating costs.

"This will be one of the largest ongoing costs of all municipal facilities," Counc. Kristi Wells said.

Jan Jansen, manager of parks planning for the municipality, told council other opportunities for revenue from the building had been considered, such as building additional retail or office space and leasing it to a third party, or including resident housing, but had been rejected.

Part of the reason those options were rejected was because of a covenant on the property. The covenant stipulates that the B.C. Assets and Lands Corporation would require payment for the property if it is to be used for anything other than municipal facilities.

As long as the building is used for the library and museum BCAL will provide the municipality free title to the land.

The building will utilize sustainable or "green" building practices and technologies.

The next step is the creation of a project brief, to facilitate with fund-raising, and the development of construction drawings

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