Down­town re­gen­er­a­tion

Re­gen­er­a­tion co-or­di­na­tor wanted to im­prove down­town Syd­ney

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY NANCY KING nk­ing@cb­

Plans un­der­way to im­prove Syd­ney’s down­town.

Wanted: One down­town re­gen­er­a­tion co-or­di­na­tor.

It’s not your ev­ery­day help wanted ad, but the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, in part­ner­ship with the Syd­ney Wa­ter­front Dis­trict As­so­ci­a­tion and the Na­tional Trust for Canada, is cur­rently ad­ver­tis­ing for some­one with a back­ground in ur­ban de­sign and down­town re­gen­er­a­tion to work as an in­de­pen­dent con­trac­tor on a project to im­prove Syd­ney’s down­town area.

Deputy Mayor El­don Mac­Don­ald, whose coun­cil dis­trict in­cludes down­town Syd­ney, said the project evolved from a con­fer­ence he at­tended in Prince Ed­ward Is­land more than two years ago where he heard about sim­i­lar work that had been done in other re­gions of Canada.

“It’s about re­vi­tal­iz­ing and look­ing at the down­town and see­ing what as­sets we have and how we can make bet­ter use of them,” he said.

The po­si­tion calls for a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in ar­chi­tec­ture, ur­ban de­sign, civil en­gi­neer­ing or ur­ban plan­ning as well as five years re­lated experience or a master’s de­gree with three years of rel­e­vant work experience. Par­tic­u­larly val­ued would be experience in restor­ing and re­pur­pos­ing her­itage build­ings.

The project, which will run to June 2019, is ex­pected to cost about $100,000 in the first year. The CBRM re­ceived $75,000 from the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency and dis­cus­sions are also un­der­way with the prov­ince for fund­ing.

While Her­itage Canada is in­volved in the project, Mac­Don­ald stressed the process isn’t solely fo­cused on what would be con­sid­ered her­itage build­ings.

“We have some va­cant build­ings and va­cant win­dow spa­ces that need to be filled more with en­trepreneurs, land­lords, busi­ness own­ers, to try to help cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that would be more at­trac­tive to at­tract­ing new busi­ness to the down­town core,” he said.

Key to that will be dis­cus­sions about res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment in the down­town, Mac­Don­ald added. De­vel­oper Marty Ch­ernin has pro­posed con­struct­ing a mixed-use res­i­den­tial-com­mer­cial build­ing along the Es­planade and Mac­Don­ald said there is an­other pri­vate pro­posal to de­velop hous­ing in the for­mer Cape Bre­ton Post build­ing on Dorch­ester Street.

“We have sec­ond floor lev­els on Char­lotte Street that may be able to be looked at and I’d like to at least have a dis­cus­sion to see if there’s a po­ten­tial for de­vel­op­ing some good qual­ity … af­ford­able hous­ing and those are some of the things that would be en­com­passed in the over­all po­si­tion,” Mac­Don­ald said.

Ef­forts to im­prove the streetscape would also be part of the scope of the project. A park­ing strat­egy is also cur­rently un­der­way and is due to be com­pleted soon, and that doc­u­ment would also fall un­der the new co-or­di­na­tor.

The hope is to en­gage land­lords, busi­ness own­ers and the gen­eral pub­lic about what they would like to see im­proved in the down­town and en­cour­age a more co­he­sive ap­proach, Mac­Don­ald said.

While this project would fo­cus on down­town Syd­ney, the hope is that les­sons would be learned that could ben­e­fit other down­town ar­eas within the CBRM.

“It’s about build­ing the mu­nic­i­pal­ity rather than build­ing the down­town Syd­ney wa­ter­front dis­trict,” Mac­Don­ald said. “It just so hap­pens that it will start in the core part of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.”

The clos­ing date for ap­pli­ca­tions is March 2. The se­lected can­di­date is ex­pected to be­gin work in March with the term po­si­tion to ex­pire in June 2019.


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