Open book

Peo­ple want to see other op­tions for new Syd­ney li­brary

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY EL­IZ­A­BETH PAT­TER­SON

Li­brary planner Jim Mor­gen­stern didn’t mince words about the present state of Syd­ney’s James McCon­nell Me­mo­rial Li­brary on Tues­day night.

“This is not a great li­brary by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion,” Mor­gen­stern said dur­ing a pub­lic meet­ing on the find­ings of the new Syd­ney li­brary fea­si­bil­ity study at the McCon­nell. “This li­brary can’t con­tinue.”

For Mor­gen­stern, that means the Syd­ney li­brary is too small for a com­mu­nity of this size and it can’t sup­ply the ser­vices that are ex­pected from con­tem­po­rary li­braries.

Mor­gen­stern, of dmA Plan­ning Man­age­ment Ser­vices, along with ar­chi­tect Spyro Tri­fos and ac­coun­tant John Nash pre­sented their find­ings on three op­tions to about 100 peo­ple who showed up at the pub­lic meet­ing. But it soon be­came ap­par­ent that mem­bers of the au­di­ence felt other ideas should be ex­plored fur­ther as well.

The three main op­tions are for fa­cil­i­ties that would en­com­pass 40,000 square feet.

The cap­i­tal cost would range from a low of about $ 18 mil­lion for op­tion three if the for­mer Tar­get re­tail space was retrofitted, to $ 28 mil­lion for the two new build con­cepts, with the first op­tion lo­cated on Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity- owned prop­erty across from the Joan Har­riss Cruise Pavil­ion and the sec­ond at the site of the fire sta­tion on the Es­planade. Op­tion one is a new, two­s­torey stand­alone build­ing on the board­walk, op­po­site the Joan Har­riss Cruise Pav­il­lion. Op­tion two would be a mixed- use com­plex that would also fea­ture the re­lo­cated Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege cam­pus. Op­tion three would in­volve retrofitting the ex­ist­ing for­mer Tar­get build­ing and would fea­ture plenty of park­ing, near a cen­tre of shop­ping and would be as much as $ 10 mil­lion cheaper than the other two op­tions. But it would re­main in the own­er­ship of a land­lord. The to­tal cost for op­tion one, not in­clud­ing HST, would be $ 25,940,000 at $ 600 per square foot; op­tion two would be $ 27,808,000 at $ 695 per square foot; and op­tion three would be $ 17,784,000 at $ 445 per square foot.

Cape Bre­ton Books pub­lisher and li­brary com­mit­tee mem­ber Ron Ca­plan made it clear at the meet­ing that he wanted more ideas and op­tions con­sid­ered.

“Ev­ery one thinks we’re stuck with only these three op­tions and that’s not the case,” said Ca­plan. “I think we’re pass­ing up the down­town. Let’s have an en­trance on Char­lotte Street and one on the Es­planade. I think we have a coura­geous op­por­tu­nity to re­vi­tal­ize the down­town area and the har­bourfront is not the down­town area.”

Sev­eral mem­bers of the au­di­ence also ex­pressed con­cern about plac­ing an­other build­ing on the wa­ter­front, creat­ing more con­ges­tion on the Es­planade and es­sen­tially wip­ing out any views of the har­bour. John Nash said that for the pur­poses of the study, rep­re­sen­ta­tive sites were cho­sen but no hard de­ci­sions have been made.

“But the ba­sic costs of build­ings re­main the same, no mat­ter where you lo­cate it.”

While op­tion two in­cludes the pres­ence of the NSCC cam­pus on site, the ac­tual com­mu­nity li­brary would be its own sep­a­rate en­tity. How­ever, pair­ing the two in­sti­tu­tions to­gether could re­sult in other ben­e­fits, said Tri­fos.

“The closer as­so­ci­a­tion of ma­jor in­sti­tu­tions with stu­dents and staff down­town would strengthen the ur­ban core,” said Tri­fos.

CBRM Mayor Ce­cil Clarke stressed that while the project is an ex­pen­sive one, a new li­brary is needed and the com­mu­nity needs to work to­gether to bring it to fruition.

“We’re eco­nom­i­cally strained but we must move for­ward to meet this com­mu­nity’s needs,” said Clarke.

EL­IZ­A­BETH PAT­TER­SON/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Li­brary sup­porter Ron Ca­plan makes a point dur­ing a pub­lic meet­ing about pos­si­ble fu­ture li­brary op­tions on Tues­day evening. Ca­plan, who is Cape Bre­ton Books pub­lisher and a li­brary com­mit­tee mem­ber, said he wanted more ideas and op­tions con­sid­ered.

Mor­gen­stern

SUB­MIT­TED BY TRI­FOS DE­SIGN

This im­age shows op­tion two for the new li­brary — a shared mixed-use com­plex at the Mercer Ser­vice Sta­tion and Syd­ney Fire Sta­tion site on the Es­planade in Syd­ney.

SUB­MIT­TED BY TRI­FOS DE­SIGN

This im­age shows op­tion one for the new li­brary — a new build­ing on a CBRM lot across from the Joan Har­riss Cruise Pavil­ion.

SUB­MIT­TED BY TRI­FOS DE­SIGN

This im­age shows op­tion three for the new li­brary — a retro­fit of the for­mer Tar­get store on Prince Street in Syd­ney.

Nash

Tri­fos

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