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West Vancouver Memorial Library funded for $1M environmental upgrades

An electrical upgrade will replace the library’s existing gas heating and ventilation system
West Vancouver Mayor Mark Sager was joined by West Vancouver Memorial Library staff in announcing new funding for environmental upgrades July 13, 2023. | West Vancouver Memorial Library

The West Vancouver Memorial Library is soon to receive one of its most greenest upgrades to date, with the help of more than $950,000 in funds from the provincial, federal and municipal government.

The funds, given through the Government’s Investing In Canada Infrastructure Program and the provincial government’s CleanBC Communities fund, will overhaul the library’s current heating and ventilation system, replacing it with new electrical equipment and baseboard heaters and taking it completely off natural gas.

Of the lump sum, the Government of Canada is investing $190,941, the Government of British Columbia is investing $509,145 and the District of West Vancouver is contributing $254,621.

In an announcement on the library’s rooftop July 13, Patrick Weiler, Liberal MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, said the penned upgrades would ensure that the library continues to be a “welcoming and sustainable space.”

“Through the upgrade of the heating and ventilation system, we are eliminating the use of fossil fuels and improving energy efficiency. Investing in green community infrastructure projects like this helps us tackle climate change, saves money, and created healthier and more sustainable spaces for residents to enjoy,” he said.

Weiler, joined by library board chair Tracy Wachmann, British Columbia Environment Minister George Heyman and West Vancouver Mayor Mark Sager, said the refurbishment was a notable step towards the government’s goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and create a “clean and inclusive Canada.”

The library has been garnering recognition for its commitment to climate action since 2006, when a grassroots effort to create an in-house "Green Team" was followed by the adoption of their own Green Building Operations Policy in 2009.

In 2011 the facility became the first library in Canada to be awarded LEED silver certification, while its efforts to raise climate awareness were recognized earlier this year with the British Columbia Library Association Eureka Award.

“We’re proud of our Library’s longstanding commitment to sustainability,” said Wachmann, adding how the upgrade will save up to 39 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and is the library’s next step in its endeavour to become the “most sustainable library” it can be.

West Vancouver Mayor Mark Sager said the grant application had been a collaboration between the West Vancouver District and Memorial Library staff, and was an example of what can be achieved when communities come together.

“This teamwork, along with the investment and support from the Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia, is a great example of the change we can implement together,” he said.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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