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Delta throwback: Will Tsawwassen ever get a new library?

The South Delta branch at the mall is still rented by the city

Let’s head back to April of 1986 when a new Tsawwassen public library branch opened at the Town Centre mall.

Today, it’s still the only one of Delta’s three libraries that is not located in a municipally-owned building and is instead rented.

In 2006, the municipality proposed moving out of the mall location and building an entirely new South Delta library branch at Winskill Park.

The project would have been part of a much bigger plan (costing $8.3 million in total) that also included the construction of a new artificial turf playing field at the park.

The proposed new library would have been 12,000-square-feet, about 4,000 more than current South Delta branch.

It soon became clear the Winskill project faced substantial resistance from area residents who didn't like the idea of the library being moved from its current location.

Another problem facing the municipality, which saw more than 2,000 residents mail in a "no" vote in a reverse petition, was the fact Tsawwassen residents would have had to pay a special tax to help pay for the project.

That tax would have worked out to an average of about $98 annually for five years.

Once the local service tax would have been finished, the project would have been completely paid off with no lingering municipal debt, but that pitch wasn't enough to convince local residents.

In the end, Delta backed off building a new library at the park but eventually added the artificial turf field. The library had since undergone renovations, along with the Ladner and North Delta branches. 

A few years ago, Century Group president Sean Hodgins, who owns the mall, held an open house to unveil a proposed master plan for the site, showing a concept aimed at transforming the complex into a mixed-use urban village.

That plan, which has not gone any further or had any more public engagement to date, included 700 condo units in eight low-to medium-rise buildings, as well as a new library at the heart of the development. The library would be given to the city as an amenity contribution.

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