Groundbreaking ceremony set for the new Chetwynd Public Library, honouring Yvonne Elden

The Chetwynd Public Library project will mark a milestone on June 3, when shovels hit the site of the new library grounds for the first time. The event will also commemorate the life of Yvonne Elden, a tireless community leader in Chetwynd who was instrumental in establishing the first library as a member of the Little Prairie Ladies Club.

The existing library is a revered community fixture in Chetwynd and the surrounding area, providing services and programs to locals since 1959. In 2016, at the request of the District of Chetwynd and the Chetwynd Library Board, the Peace River Regional District went to work examining options for repair or replacement. The results of that effort included the formation of the current Library Advisory Committee and a feasibility study recommending a new build. After an extensive analysis and public engagement process that spanned three years, Faction Projects Inc. (formerly Field Lievers Architecture) will take the community-approved designs to the build stage with the help of Celtic Construction of Dawson Creek BC.

With the final design clocking in at approximately 8,600 square feet versus the current 7,100, the new facility provides a much-needed storage and accessibility upgrade, with room to meet the current and future needs of the community. In addition to the services and spaces that the community has grown to love, the new library will boast a suite of exciting new features. Among them, include a storytelling space, children’s program room, teen seating area, makerspace and virtual reality room, multi-purpose room and an outdoor patio with views of the skate park. The patrons of the new Chetwynd Public Library can also look forward to enjoying the café in a 20-person open seating area and food preparation space.

The total budget for the new library is set at $5.2 million and over $4 million has been contributed by the PRRD Electoral Area E, the District of Chetwynd, the Chetwynd Public Library and the Northern Development Initiative Trust. West Fraser Chetwynd Forest Industries and Canfor Chetwynd Sawmill have also shown their commitment to the community by graciously donating much of the lumber required for the construction of the new library. Coastal Gaslink and Surerus Murphy Joint Venture will also be making funding announcements at the groundbreaking ceremony on June 3rd.

The members of the Library Advisory Committee, who have worked on the project through its storied lifecycle, are looking forward to turning another page.

“The library is the heart of the community in Chetwynd, and residents deserve a world-class facility that they can look forward to growing into. The new library is a huge accomplishment for Chetwynd and Electoral Area E, but also for the entire region. Our people have shown through their continued engagement and collaboration with this project that the Peace cares about community enrichment. I am honoured to celebrate the next chapter of this project.”
– Dan Rose, Director of Electoral Area E, Peace River Regional District

“District of Chetwynd Mayor, Council and Staff are very excited to see construction begin on the new Chetwynd Public Library. The new library is a welcome addition, and we anticipate that it will continue to be a community hub as the existing library is, but in a facility that reflects the value and respect the community has for literacy and connectivity.”
– Mel Deck, District of Chetwynd Councillor

“I am excited that this new library will not only provide a safer and healthy work environment for the staff, it will also be a beautiful, accessible, and inclusive space to provide more opportunities for programs that serve the needs of our community, both currently and into the future.”
– Kelly Wilson, Chair of the Library Advisory Committee

“The Library is more than books. Author Sidney Sheldon once said: “Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life.” Those of us at the Chetwynd Public Library have a huge love for our community. We would like to thank each and every one of you, our patrons, for your continual support, contribution, enthusiasm, dedication and passion that help us remain steadfast and purposefully driven with making a difference in the lives of others. We look forward to growing and serving our community, surrounding areas, and those traveling through for years to come.”
– Melissa Millsap, Director of the Chetwynd Public Library

The groundbreaking event will take place on June 3 at 3:00 pm, west of the skate park on the North Access Road in Chetwynd. The construction of the Chetwynd Public Library will begin on June 13 and is estimated to be completed by the end of July 2023.

A memorial fund for Yvonne Elden has been established in partnership with the Northeast BC Community Foundation with all proceeds going to the library project. To donate, please visit To follow along with the journey of the new Chetwynd Public Library, register for updates at and be sure to watch for “Space Highlights” on the Peace River Regional District’s Facebook page at @OfficialPRRD.

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