CBRM needs new cen­tral li­brary

Cape Breton Post - - EDITORIAL -

The cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity (CBRM) is in ur­gent need of a new and larger cen­tral li­brary.

We don’t need a huge “world­class” ed­i­fice of glass and steel, as in Hal­i­fax. A much bet­ter model for the CBRM is the new li­brary in Antigo­nish, which is known as “The Peo­ple’s Place.” It is built to a hu­man scale and deeply rooted in the cul­ture of its com­mu­nity. Care­fully planned with con­sid­er­able pub­lic in­put, this low-rise build­ing with its wel­com­ing cen­tral hearth is a model of en­vi­ron­men­tally-con­scious en­gi­neer­ing. It makes use of so­lar power, geo­ther­mal heat­ing and cool­ing. Waste re­duc­tion and re­cy­cling are para­mount. Sky­lights and en­hanced nat­u­ral light­ing (thanks to high-per­for­mance glaz­ing from Cape Bre­ton) are sup­ple­mented by LED and lowen­ergy il­lu­mi­na­tion.

Lo­cal build­ing ma­te­ri­als are much in ev­i­dence: for ex­am­ple, the li­brary ta­bles, fash­ioned from the bird’s-eye maple in­dige­nous to the Aca­dian for­est, were cre­ated by crafts­peo­ple from the Antigo­nish area.

The work of lo­cal artists and ar­ti­sans is ev­ery­where: tapestry, posters, sculp­ture, mu­rals and charm­ing paint­ings by mem­bers of the l’Arche com­mu­nity. Out­doors, in­dige­nous plants flour­ish in sus­tain­able land­scap­ing.

“The Peo­ple’s Place” is wel­com­ing, ad­mirably de­signed, en­vi­ron­men­tally ef­fi­cient – a beau­ti­ful ex­pres­sion of and trib­ute to its com­mu­nity. Why can’t the CBRM have a new cen­tral li­brary like that, one draw­ing on our own re­sources and skills, our dis­tinc­tive cul­ture and arts?

What are we wait­ing for? Mar­garet Young Syd­ney

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