Pender Harbour feedback sought on library funding

Residents of Pender Harbour and Egmont will have a chance to weigh in on funding options for the Sechelt Public Library in addition to finding out whether they could have a library of their own. 

Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) Area A director Leonard Lee made a motion at a Nov. 28 committee meeting to solicit feedback from Area A on funding options for the Sechelt library, after hearing from Sechelt director Darnelda Siegers that Sechelt council wants Area A’s contribution to the Sechelt library to be based on 100 per cent of its population.

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Doing so would increase how much Pender Harbour and Egmont residents pay in taxes for the library by about 300 per cent, according to Lee.

In 2019, the area contributed $40,731 to the Sechelt Public Library Association, which amounted to 4.86 per cent of the funding share.

Funding is shared between SCRD electoral areas A, B and D, the Sechelt Indian Government District (SIGD) and the District of Sechelt.

Lee acknowledged the “philosophical problem” of dividing up costs among electoral areas and other local governments, and said until more data proves otherwise, he would have to stick with the historical apportionment of approximately five per cent of the overall funding, which this year would work out to about 33 per cent of the population. “I can’t find any reason to change my position,” said Lee.

To get to the bottom of the question of what percentage of Area A’s population uses the Sechelt library, Area F director Mark Hiltz suggested the SCRD ask for the criteria the province uses to establish its funding, since according to the province, 100 per cent of Area A’s population is served by the library.

Near the end of the discussion, Lee also made a motion for staff to find out whether Pender Harbour could establish its own library, with a service area to fund it. The motion passed with Sechelt director Alton Toth and Area E director Donna McMahon opposed.

As of last Thursday, the SIGD hasn’t weighed in on what percentage of the funding it would provide.

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