The development plan for a proposed Willoughby building showing a possible library site. (Pollyco/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

The development plan for a proposed Willoughby building showing a possible library site. (Pollyco/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Langley Township council says no to delay in considering Willoughby library

One councillor called for a system-wide review before making a decision

A proposal to delay a decision on a Willoughby library site until after a review of Langley Township’s Library Master Services Plan was voted down at Monday’s council meeting.

Coun. Kim Richter called for the review, saying she was prompted by the recent presentation by Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL) CEO Scott Hargrove earlier this month.

In December, developer Pollyco asked the Township to approve two floors of commercial space in a six-storey building planned for the 7900 block of 206A Street – the second floor of which could house a new library.

The Township hasn’t approved the plan for a new library, but Township staff and FVRL staff have been considering the idea.

But Richter said before anything’s decided, the Township should revisit its Master Library Services Plan, which was last updated in 2012.

“What we’re moving forward with now is a destination library in Willoughby,” Richter said, referring to a larger-scale library.

“I think the community-based system we have right now has served us very well,” she said. “I don’t think we need to move away from it.”

Currently, Langley Township has a number of small to medium-sized library branches, with one in each of its major communities other than Willoughby.

Other cities in the FVRL system have gone with fewer branches, or sometimes simply with one, somewhat larger central library, as in Maple Ridge.

READ MORE: Scope of proposed Willoughby library debated by Township council

Hargrove discussed the concept of a “destination library” in January, as a library that was larger in scope and would draw people from around the region.

Other councillors pushed back on Richter’s motion and didn’t want to see plans for a library held up for a full strategy review.

“I don’t understand why suddenly it’s some kind of emergency,” said Coun. Petrina Arnason, who is the Township’s representative to the FVRL board.

Arnason’s primary concern was that Willoughby, Langley’s fastest growing community by far, needs a library. The closest libraries are Willowbrook’s Muriel Arnason Library – named after her late mother, a longtime Township councillor and library advocate – and Walnut Grove’s branch.

Other councillors also said the need now is to consider this library, not to review the whole system right away.

“We have to make a decision about moving forward in Willoughby,” said Coun. Steve Ferguson.

“I do believe Willoughby needs a library, don’t get me wrong on that, I just don’t think we should be spending mega-millions on it,” Richter said.

The new proposed site would be the largest library in the Township. The space proposed is 12,485 square feet.

That compares to 7,070 square feet at Murrayville, currently the largest branch in the Township system.

However, adding 12,000 square feet of space to serve Willoughby would put the Township’s libraries in line with recommendations from the 2012 Library Services Master Plan.

The plan looked ahead from 2011 and suggested that by 2021, the Willoughby/Willowbrook area served by Muriel Arnason Library would need 17,942 square feet of library space.

The current Muriel Arnason Library is 5,700 square feet; adding a 12,485 square foot library would almost exactly match the 2012 recommendation.

However, the 2012 plan severely underestimated the population of the area. It projected that by 2021 there would be about 29,900 people in the neighbourhood. Willoughby had more than 37,000 people according to a 2019 estimate by the Township, and it has been growing continuously.

Most other councillors were eager to move forward with considering the site.

Coun. Eric Woodward voted with Richter, and expressed concerns that the site would be a “mediocre library” because it won’t be on the ground floor of the building, which Hargrove said was the ideal location.

Arnason characterized that as “cherry picking” as Hargrove was enthusiastic about the site, and also noted that the elevated parking lot of the planned complex will have direct entry into the second-floor library, as well as an elevator from the first floor.

Richter’s motion was defeated in six to two votes.

Have a story tip? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Fraser Valley Regional LibraryLangleyLangley Township

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Langley Seniors Resource Centre has a tax clinic that wraps up April 30, 2021. (LSRC grpahic)
Seniors centre offers tax clinics and men’s sexuality group has online support meeting

Most in-person events remain on hold but here’s information on two events

LETTER: Langley student spills about the link between milk and climate change

Grade 7 students at Gordon Greenwood Elementary were tasked with writing about climate change.

LETTER: Langley student delves into climate change and the impact on storms

Grade 7 students at Gordon Greenwood Elementary were tasked with writing about climate change.

The Giants play at Prospera Place in Kelowna Wednesday night against Victoria, then are back on the same ice again Saturday to take on the Rockets. They defeated Prince George Monday, 2-1 in Kamloops. (Allen Douglas/Special to Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Giants climb to top with 11 games remaining

Vancouver G-Men play again Wednesday, hoping to take down Victoria for a fourth time this season

Linda Montemurro of Fort Langley is grateful her nephew, Ryder, was with her while kayaking in Cultus Lake. She credits him with saving her life. (Linda Montemurro/Special to Black Press Media)
LETTER: Auntie flips kayak but newphew keeps her calm when Langley family visits Cultus Lake

Local woman’s first time kayaking brings unwelcome drama and praise for a young helper

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Most Read