Residents of some rural areas around Nelson are expected to be asked through a counterpetition process whether they want to pay for library service through their tax dollars.
Area E director Ramona Faust says the issue was defeated in a 2010 referendum, but she thinks enough time has passed to pose the question again.
“Area E has lots of new residents and families, so it seems like a good time to ask,” she says.
Faust says the proposed rate of contribution would be similar to neighboring Areas F and H and would be about $27.57 per year for a home assessed at $400,000.
Presently Faust provides grants that allow 330 students in her area to take advantage of the library. However, adults are subject to membership fees.
Faust says Area E is one of the very few parts of B.C. that doesn’t pay into a library service through taxation. The 2010 referendum added Area F and the lower Slocan Valley to the Nelson library service.
“It’s pretty unusual for a community not to have supported library services,” she says. “In that way when people move to the community they feel they’re at a bit of a disadvantage.”
The counterpetition process needs provincial approval before it can begin. If 10 per cent of taxpayers sign their names against the move, the regional district will have to rethink the idea. Otherwise, it would be adopted.
Faust says she is “interested to see if the people who are asking me for the service are also interested in being part of the process of supporting it by talking to their friends and neighbours.”
She says she has already heard from those for and against on social media and by email.
Faust’s area includes Blewett, Balfour, Harrop, Procter, Sunshine Bay, and Queens Bay. She says in addition to books, the library provides many online services as well as tools and objects that can be borrowed.
“It’s part of the sharing economy where not everyone has to buy everything. They can borrow it and taken it back and someone else can use it. That’s part of the library in 2022 that was just in the beginning in 2010.”