Similkameen residents asked to pay additional funds to keep Keremeos Library open

The regional district board voted in favour of a service establishment bylaw that would see both Similkameen rural areas and the Village of Keremeos contribute funding to the Keremeos library at the Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 regular board meeting.
Image Credit: Google street view

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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