SURREY – In a time when our society is going through hard discussions on future of books and their coexistence with e-books, when some of Canadian metropolitan area are mulling on closing libraries causing enormous outrages from local and world wide known authors, BC’s second largest metropolitan area is opening new state-of-art library. On beautiful Saturday morning and afternoon Surrey opened probably one of the best libraries in Canada if not in North America, architectural masterpiece designed by Bing Thom, celebrating community diversity and success on the transformational path from suburb to modern city. City Center Library will serve several to Surrey community not only as a Library, but also as community center, education facility, and a place from which will be continued development and integration of Valley area in modern downtown area.
In same neighborhood over next few years Surrey will welcome new City Hall, conference center and other major city institutions, expansion of downtown area is visible from library’s building through presence of heavy duty machinery resting for the day but ready to continue work on remaining projects.
Significance of this project for Surrey is enormous from several points. At first place will replace small and insufficient old library which was fulfilling it’s duty for several decades in the past, will able growing student community to access greater fund of scientific and general public informations which highly necessary on their quest to intellectual and life success. Newcomers and immigrants, whom are playing great role in Surrey’s development and diversity will be get a chance to reach much needed language or any other life area educational process,  but what is more important they’ll be able to learn more about Canada and Canadian society as their new home. As we know 1/3 of Surrey’s population is under 18 years-of-age which exactly points out need for a modern and great community facility which will keep them on the road of quality development and integration to community, maybe some day to bring them in the service of Surrey’s municipal politics or new developmental projects.
Accomplishment of this project comes as joint effort of all three governmental levels in Canada, showing that political differences are not obstacle for work on behalf of community. Federal and provincial government helped this project with $20 million in combined funds, and municipal government invested remaining $16 million. Surrey’s Mayor Dianne Watts, warmly welcomed to the public scene after recent severe back injury, pointed out great effort not only from political side of this project but also help and cooperation from Library staff and trustees who worker around the clock to finish their part of the work on the time and to open library to all citizens of Surrey and those who need their services in BC or Canada.
Representing provincial government deputy premier Kevin Falcon express his satisfaction with conclusion of this project, describing process of cooperation with Mayor Watts and other officials from the start to the end of this project.
“Buildings like this are impossible with out cooperation between all levels of government. On behalf of provincial government I can promise that we will continue work and cooperation with City on other great projects in our communities in effort to build Surrey into modern downtown area”, said Falcon.
Small incident threatened to ruin opening ceremonies but thank to fast and immediate action of local RCMP and Fire Department all suspicions were cleared. Half an hour upon start of opening ceremonies fire alarm force all attendees to leave facility and move themselves across the street waiting on word from Fire Department officials if City Center Library is safe for ceremony continuation.
At the end of ceremonies Mayor of Surrey accompanied by Deputy Premier and other local and provincial officials and Surrey youth cut the ribbon and officially delivered Bing Thom magnificent creation to the community.
My Flickr photo set is available here.