Nova Scotia

New Sydney library options unveiled at Cape Breton regional council

The dream of a new library complex for Sydney now includes some new architectural drawings, which were presented to Cape Breton regional council on Tuesday.

'It's definitely time,' says regional librarian Faye MacDougall

One option is to build a stand-alone library on the Sydney waterfront. (CBRM Sydney Public Library Feasibility Study)

The dream of a new library complex for Sydney now includes some conceptual drawings, which were presented to Cape Breton regional council on Tuesday.

An updated report commissioned by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality shows three options:

  • A stand-alone building on the waterfront near the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavillion.
  • A shared space in a new province-owned facility on the waterfront, which could also house the Marconi campus of the Nova Scotia Community College.
  • Repurposing the abandoned Target store in the former Sydney Shopping Centre.

The study was done by Trifos Design Consultants, dmA Planning & Management Services and Breton Chartered Accountants.

"There's a lot of due diligence and strategic planning that has to be conducted," said architect Spiro Trifos, who estimates the cost at between $18 million for the refit option and $28 million for the stand-alone facility.

He expects a decision could be made by the fall of 2017.

A second option is to share the new building with a partner, possibly the Marconi campus of the NSCC, also on the Sydney waterfront. (CBRM Sydney Public Library Feasibility Study)

The chair of the library build committee, Pat Bates, told CBC Cape Breton's Information Morning the project will require help from higher levels of government.

"Their participation is essential," he said.

He said the options will be presented at a public meeting soon; a date has yet to be determined.

Regional Librarian Faye MacDougall said her staff have seen the report and are excited about the options. The James McConnell Memorial Library in Sydney, built in 1959, has severe limitations, she said. 

"We're out of space in terms of storage and programs. We're turning people away, so it's definitely time," said MacDougall.

Mayor Cecil Clarke indicated he'll discuss the report with both the federal and provincial governments and make a pitch for funding. An issue paper will be prepared by municipal staff for presentation to regional council in the fall.

A third option is to refit an existing building such as the abandoned Target store at the former Sydney Shopping Centre. (CBRM Sydney Public LIbrary Feasibility Study)

     

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