Work is beginning on the old Emily Carr library building to make space for Saanich municipal staff.
Last year, Saanich staff began exploring options to alleviate space constraints in the municipal hall, said Kelsie McLeod, the municipality’s spokesperson. Moving into the vacant library building at 3500 Blanshard St. was put forward as an option, and in December 2018, council approved $2.1 million to renovate the space, as well as some parts of the municipal hall.
McLeod said engineering and occupational health and safety staff will move into the building, likely in early 2020.
Saanich hasn’t yet hired a contractor for the renovations, but expects to finalize a decision by the fall. Work has begun to remove hazardous material from the building.
In June last year, former Saanich mayor Richard Atwell proposed turning the space into a supportive housing facility as a solution to the tent city that developed in nearby Regina Park. Council voted against Atwell’s motion.
The library moved out of the building in 2014 and into a space across the street at Uptown shopping centre. Santas Anonymous, a children’s charity, occupied the space from late 2014 until July 2018.