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Oak Bay library branch closed for asbestos testing

The branch will be closed until Feb. 6, provided no more contamination is found

By Jimmy Thomson
January 27, 2023
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Oak Bay library branch closed for asbestos testing

The branch will be closed until Feb. 6, provided no more contamination is found

By Jimmy Thomson
Jan 27, 2023
The Oak Bay branch of GVPL is closed until Feb. 6. Jimmy Thomson / Capital Daily
The Oak Bay branch of GVPL is closed until Feb. 6. Jimmy Thomson / Capital Daily
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Oak Bay library branch closed for asbestos testing

The branch will be closed until Feb. 6, provided no more contamination is found

By Jimmy Thomson
January 27, 2023
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Oak Bay library branch closed for asbestos testing
The Oak Bay branch of GVPL is closed until Feb. 6. Jimmy Thomson / Capital Daily

The Oak Bay branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library is closed for the next week for asbestos testing.

The District of Oak Bay said in a press release on Friday that dust contaminated with asbestos was found in “an isolated area” of the building during proactive testing. 

The branch is expected to reopen on Feb. 6—but if more asbestos is found, “that situation will change,” according to the library system’s spokesperson, Kelly Ridgway. 

The next step is to take samples and test them using a transmission electron microscope for more evidence of asbestos, explained Oak Bay spokesperson Hayley Goodgrove. Depending on those results, the building could undergo a more extensive (and costly) process of removing the asbestos, though Goodgrove was reluctant to discuss hypotheticals.

The library does not own the building, the Monterey Recreation Centre, which also houses Oak Bay Volunteer Services Society and Hampshire Apartments. The building is owned by the District of Oak Bay and rented by the library.

The other users of the building are not affected, according to Goodgrove.

Photo: Jimmy Thomson / Capital Daily

The branch is a particularly busy part of a particularly busy library system. 

“We’ve got one of the busiest and most well-used branches in the entire system; I know that people love their branch,” Oak Bay Coun. Andrew Appleton said.

According to the 2021 annual report, Oak Bay has the highest per-capita contribution to the Greater Victoria Public Library, at $60.76 per resident. (The lowest is Colwood, at $46.28.) 

Outside of the library, there was confusion on Friday about the sudden closure, first announced in the form of vague signage  on the door referring to “unforeseen circumstances” on Jan. 26.

“What am I supposed to do if the building is shut down and I have holds sitting inside?” a patron asked, seeing the closure notice pasted outside.

Ridgway said any holds currently in the Oak Bay library will be extended until the branch reopens, and if the building has to be closed for a longer term—to remove asbestos, if any more is found—the library will reassess. 

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