New life for heritage building
Old Post Office will soon be home for regional police
Renovations to the Old Post Office are on time and within budget according to District 1 Coun. Clarence Prince.
In 2015, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality budgeted $1 million for the renovation project, which will eventually be the new home of the Cape Breton Regional Police North Division.
The plans include the installation of a 15-foot clock tower on the corner of the property next to the flag standards.
“The clock tower will be visible from the streets that intersect downtown,” Prince said. “This clock tower is something that we’ve worked toward for at least 10 years or more and it’s finally coming to fruition.”
Prince said a priority for the municipality was to secure a future for the Old Post Office.
“The building is a heritage property. It’s centrally located and adjacent to the downtown area. As well, the return of a police presence in Sydney Mines is certainly welcome.”
Site foreman Angelo Canova with Brilun Construction said as with any construction project, there were a few glitches here and there.
“But it didn’t hold us back,” said Canova.
“There will be a public area at the front of the building that will include reception. The rest of the building is being renovated to accomodate the needs of the police service.”
Approximately 35 police officers are currently based in North Division.
Renovation work began early in the new year and includes mechanical and electrical upgrades. The air-handling unit on the roof will be replaced. The ramp at the side of the building is at the end of its life cycle and it will be replaced and built to exit off the street.
Along with some minor landscaping work and improvements to the grounds, a number of additional exterior lights will be installed and there will be some work on the foundation.
The public entrance at the front of the building facing Fraser Avenue will be upgraded to include new doors.
Built in 1904, over the years the three-storey building served both as a post office and as a customs house, with an upstairs apartment for the caretaker.
The Nova Scotia Department of Health rented the first floor and the town’s department of social services and leisure services occupied the second floor until 1978.
The building was then sold and used mainly as storage space, while a portion was used by the local historical society as a museum.
The building was reacquired by the former Town of Sydney Mines in 1987 and restored as a centennial project.
The building housed the regional municipality’s citizens service centre until it closed in the fall of 2014.
Currently, the police service’s North Division office is located at 412 Purves St. in North Sydney.
Once the renovations are complete, the Purves Street building will be declared surplus and will go on the market.
District 1 Coun. Clarence Prince looks over the plans for the renovation of the Old Post Office Tuesday with Brilun Construction site foreman Angelo Canova. The heritage building in Sydney Mines is the future home of the Cape Breton Regional Police in North Division.
The Old Post Office, situated in the middle of Sydney Mines, dominates the streetscape. It will soon be home to the Cape Breton Regional Police in North Division.