A new mixed commercial-residential building planned for the Willoughby neighbourhood could provide a home for Langley’s next library.
The site, in the 7900 block of 206A Street, is near the existing Willoughby shopping centre near the corner of 208th Street and 80th Avenue.
Developer Pollyco has asked the Township to approve changes, which includes making the first two of six floors into commercial space.
Pollyco’s proposal suggests the entire second floor, a 13,572 square foot location (1,261 square metres) could be leased to the Township of Langley for a new library.
Northern Willoughby is currently the largest neighbourhood in the Township without a library branch, and it has been 15 years since a new library was added in the community, when the Muriel Arnason Library branch opened in the Township Civic Facility in the 20300 block of 65th Avenue.
The proposed library branch has not yet been funded by the Township, but that did not stop council from debating some changes to the design proposed by Councillor Eric Woodward.
Woodward suggested that the building should have the proposed library on the ground floor with a “smaller, more affordable size,” but his motion was defeated.
After council approved the third reading of the rezoning, with Woodward opposed, Woodward suggested that any proposed library be provided as strata ownership, not a rental space.
That idea was referred to staff, as Coun. Bob Long wanted more information about a potential library at the site.
Mayor Jack Froese said municipalities fund library sites through the Fraser Valley Regional Library. Langley Township and City, along with Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, and a number of other local communities, all participate in the FVRL system.
Creating a library would require council to set aside funding, Froese said.
“Maybe there’s a way of creative funding where we can make this thing work,” he said.
But first, zoning had to be dealt with.
If not a library, the site could be used for something else, said the mayor.