“This is a long awaited day,” declared Mayor Dennis Travale moments before snipping a wide red ribbon across the entrance to the new and spacious Port Dover library branch.
Accompanying the mayor in the traditional ceremony on January 4 were Councillors Charlie Luke and Jim Oliver, newly appointed Norfolk Library system CEO Heather King and Norfolk Library Board Chair Tom Morrison. The bevy of onlookers gave their approval with a round of applause.
The mayor expressed council’s appreciation to all those who were part of planning, installation and set-up, saying “this had been an extremely supportive venture”. In recalling a brief history that led to Saturday’s opening day, he likened the process to a set of standing dominoes. The first domino was a plan to renovate the existing Port Dover Medical Centre into the local library as the doctors were to move into a new Port Dover Medical Centre. He said “that first domino did not tip and we would not kick the doctors out”. Mayor Travale credited former Library CEO Bill Hett, Councillor John Wells, Library Board Chair Tom Morrison and its Board of Directors for getting new library plans moving forward.
He praised Grand Erie District School Board for its co-operation in having the library take over the former Port Dover Composite School technical wing. In summary Mayor Travale, told the gathering, “they have done a tremendous job!”
Standing in the midst of the modern library facility, Councillor Charlie Luke commented, “coming back here as a former (PDCS) student this is overwhelming,” adding, “I am very impressed”. He recalled a new library for Port Dover “has been in the works” for many years dating back to the mid 1990s. “Port Dover people have been very patient,” he said, looking around him, stated “the wait has been worth it”.
Library Board Chair Morrison commented the library located in the school building “was plan B,” saying “Port Dover people have been very patient” during delays while waiting for opening day. He made reference to the community’s generous response to the fundraising campaign and that GEDSB “has been a tremendous partner” in the project.
Ward 4 Councillor Jim Oliver mentioned to The Maple Leaf that he expects many people in his ward comprising Vittoria and Walsh areas will now favour coming to the new Port Dover Library, “making it their library of choice”. On that January 4 opening day, Councillor Oliver declared “what a great way to start a new year!”
Recently appointed Norfolk Library CEO Heather King encouraged citizens to tell her what they would like to see in the Port Dover Library. On a tour of the facility with The Maple Leaf she pointed out some of the outstanding features; there are 33 per cent more volumes in the new library than in the former one; at 8800 sq. ft. it is more than twice as spacious as the former one; the back wall contains an outstanding 3-dimensional mural created by former Port Dover Harbour Museum Curator Ian Bell — with a few details still to be added.
Newest lighting and air conditioning systems are part of the design of Ventin Group Architects Ltd. Contract price is $1.23-million. Of that total, the community of Port Dover is asked to raise $200,000 … John Wells in chair of the community fundraising committee.
A library circulation desk overlooks a vast public space. There are two large windows, 19-ft. ceilings and four-inch floating floor over concrete (with electrical hook-ups below the flooring). Two separate public meeting rooms have yet to be completed.
The library’s circulation desk will be opposite the main entrance. Next to the librarians desk is the ‘adult’ reading area beside a huge window. It offers comfortable leather chairs, coffee area and a fireplace.
Midway along the interior wall is the ‘teen’ section. It is furnished with what is described as youth-friendly chairs and a television set. A ‘children’s section’ has comfortable furnishings designed for their benefit and enjoyment with a glassed-in children’s programming room.
Mayor Travale informed The Maple Leaf there will be convenient handicapped-accessible parking with spacious paved parking at the rear. General contractor of Port Dover Library of Paulson Construction, with local sub-trades.