August 18, 2016 - 5:30 PM
PENTICTON - Two Similkameen rural areas will join the Village of Keremeos as part of a service area to provide additional funding for the Okanagan Regional Library branch in Keremeos.
Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen Board of Directors voted in favour of a new service area encompassing the two rural areas surrounding Keremeos as well as the village itself.
The Keremeos Library, a branch of the Okanagan Regional Library, faced a reduction in hours because of funding limitations.
At the Aug. 4 board meeting, directors voted in favour of separate bylaws for the two rural areas, but further deliberations resulted in a move to rescind those bylaws in favour of one encompassing all contributors.
West Bench Director Michael Brydon called the funding “two-tiered” asking if the creation of a library service area was a “one off” or to become the new reality.
Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer said a decision had to be made in order to fund service hours needed to keep the library open. He said a resolution has been put forward to the province, asking for a review of funding for rural libraries in a way similar to recent funding announced for rural schools.
The cost of the service to the average Similkameen homeowner with a residence worth $185,000 is estimated at $10 annually.
The service area bylaw will require public assent, which will be derived through the Alternate Approval Process.
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